Local group approved for medical marijuana research


HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – It was one of the biggest arguments made by lawmakers who were against medical marijuana: there isn’t enough scientific research.

“Everybody says we need more research,” said Thomas Trite, CEO of PA Options for Wellness.

Now that research is happening in Pennsylvania. PA Options for Wellness is one of the first state-approved clinical registrants, which means it can grow, process and dispense marijuana not only for medical treatment but also for research.

“It is important really to the patients,” Trite said.

PA Options for Wellness will have a total of six dispensaries, two in the Midstate. Patients can choose to be a part of the research.

“The research will validate or identify any ways to improve outcomes and quality of life of patients, which is where our focus really is,” Trite said. “Good and bad will be reported.”

PA Options for Wellness is partnering with Penn State College of Medicine.

“The commonwealth is promoting high-quality research. To my knowledge, no other state in the nation is doing that right now. I think we have the opportunity to be a leader at the forefront of research,” said Kent Vrana, chair of the Department of Pharmacology at Penn State College of Medicine.

The research could help identify which parts of the plant work best for different diseases and set standards in dosage

“Things like pain, cancer, and PTSD,” Vrana said.

“Some of the ways things are being dosed right now are not very scientific,” Trite said. “That’s what we are trying to get to. We want to make a difference in the lives of the patients.”

A total of eight medical schools in Pennsylvania will research medical marijuana with the help of clinical registrants.

PA Options for Wellness is hoping to start its research in the next six months. The information gathered will be shared with the state Department of Health. Penn State College of Medicine will also issue a report with its findings.

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