Pennsylvania continues on the path to be the leader in Medical Marijuana Research
HARRISBURG (June 20, 2019) – In a move yet to be matched by any other state, the PA Department of Health launched a research program, aimed at providing information to assist physicians in offering the best medical advice and care for medicinal marijuana patients and announced the first three approved clinical registrants.
These registrants will work with approved universities to conduct clinical research on any of the 21 qualifying medical conditions for which medical cannabis can be approved. Find a list of qualifying conditions here.
The three clinical registrants announced today are PA Options For Wellness, Inc. – affiliated with Penn State College of Medicine, Hershey; Agronomed Biologics, LLC – affiliated with Drexel University College of Medicine, Philadelphia; MLH Explorations, LLC – affiliated with Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia.
“Pennsylvania is at the forefront of clinical research on medical marijuana,” Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine said. “This research is essential to providing physicians with more evidence-based research to make clinical decisions for their patients.
“It is the cornerstone of our program and the key to our clinically-based, patient-focused program for those suffering from cancer, PTSD and other serious medical conditions.”
The research program is guided by Act 43 of 2018, which allows for eight clinical registrants who are required to hold both a grower/processor and a dispensary permit. Clinical registrants must also have a research contract with one of eight approved academic clinical research centers.
Next month, the department, along with all eight academic research centers and the three clinical registrants, will come together to discuss exactly what research will be conducted and their hopes for how the outcomes will assist doctors and their patients.
Currently, there are approximately 1,600 physicians registered for the Pennsylvania Medical Marijuana Program, more than 1,140 of whom have been approved as practitioners. With more than 106,000 actively certified patients, patients outnumber physicians at a rate of nearly ten to one, which is proved problematic for individuals trying to get diagnosed or care as medical marijuana patients.
Although it’s been an uphill battle since medicinal marijuana was approved in PA, the state continues the climb. Pennsylvania is more than determined to lead the nation in medical marijuana research.
Last fall, the health department approved additional medical schools as academic clinical research centers. They include the Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University, the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine – Erie, and Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine.
At the announcement last fall, Governor Tom Wolf and officials from approved medical schools spoke about the impact this program will have.
“It’s important to note that Pennsylvania is the first and only state in the country to institute such a program, and we believe that the research that will be conducted by the School of Medicine in collaboration with UPMC will be of great importance in determining the safety, efficacy and effectiveness of medical cannabis products in treating specific diseases,” – University of Pittsburgh Officials
“Today, medical research is so limited by the federal government that only a few doctors can even have access to medical marijuana,” said Governor Tom Wolf. “Pennsylvania’s premier medical schools will be able to help shape the future of treatment for patients who are in desperate need not just here, but across the country.”
The Medical Marijuana Program was signed into law by Governor Tom Wolff on April 17, 2016, making Pennsylvania the 24th state to launch such a program. Since then, the department has:
- Completed temporary regulations to enact the program
- Convened the Medical Marijuana Advisory Board
- Approved six training providers for physician continuing education
- Approved four laboratories to test medication before delivering to patients
- Registered nearly 159,000 total patients and issued more than 130,000 identification cards
- Validated over 1.2 million dispensing events with more than 3.4 million products sold
The Medical Marijuana Program offers medical marijuana to patients who are residents of Pennsylvania and under a practitioners care for the treatment of a serious medical condition as defined by the Medical Marijuana Law.