Whereas medical marijuana is authorized, standard and time-tested in Arkansas, there’s nonetheless heaps we don’t learn about it. Researchers on the Arkansas Middle for Well being Enchancment are engaged on filling within the data gaps with a $1.3 million grant they gained to check how medical marijuana and conventional medication can work collectively.
On Friday, Arkansas Middle for Well being Enchancment President and CEO Dr. Joe Thompson talked in regards to the research on the primary day of The Medical Marijuana and CBD Wellness Expo. The occasion runs by means of Saturday on the Albert Pike Masonic Temple in downtown Little Rock.
Neither an advocate nor a critic, Thompson stated he approaches the subject of medical marijuana with a scientist’s eye. Legal guidelines and tradition mixed prior to now to forestall federal funding for research about medical marijuana. However now, with these obstacles lifted, medical researchers can dig in.
“This can be a new main trade, a brand new main contributor to therapeutics that basically we all know little or no about,” Thompson stated. Thompson stated he hopes to see some standardization on dosage, therapeutic makes use of and different info medical suppliers might want to craft efficient therapy plans. There’s some laborious science on the consequences of hashish on anxiousness, ache and another situations, however we have to know extra about the advantages of various strains, correct dosage and whether or not outcomes differ primarily based on how the medication is taken.
“Persons are asking questions, asking for recommendation, however we don’t essentially have the medical underpinnings to reply them,” Thompson stated.
The ACHI research gained’t embody any experimentation on individuals or lab animals. As a substitute, the research will evaluate information about medical marijuana card holders’ purchases and their interactions with the well being care system. Whereas cardholders’ names gained’t be hooked up to the data within the research, researchers will be capable of see what diagnoses, remedies and prescriptions they’ve gotten and match that to their medical marijuana purchases.
The Arkansas Middle for Well being Enchancment touted the research because the “first-of-its-kind inhabitants well being evaluation of the medical marijuana program, combining eligible customers’ hashish buy info with insurance coverage claims data and different information sources to achieve a extra complete understanding of the consequences of hashish on customers’ medical care. This undertaking may also look at the influence of COVID-19 on the Arkansas medical marijuana program, together with adjustments in cardholder requests, product purchases, healthcare utilization, and hostile occasions.”
Arkansas Occasions writer Alan Leveritt, moderator of Friday’s dialogue with Thompson, identified the paradox inherent in medical marijuana research, the place sufferers are more likely to be extra skilled and educated than their clinicians.
“This could possibly be some fairly potent stuff, and but we’ve got individuals self-medicating as a result of they know greater than the docs know in lots of instances,” Leveritt stated.
Teresa J. Hudson, director of the Division of Well being Providers Analysis on the College of Arkansas for Medical Science and affiliate director of the VA Well being Providers Analysis and Improvement Middle for Psychological Healthcare and Outcomes Analysis, will work with Thompson as co-principal investigator on the research.