Pennsylvania launches medical marijuana research program


HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – The state Department of Health has launched a first-in-the-nation research program for medical marijuana.

The program is designed to help physicians make clinical decisions for their patients. 

“Medical marijuana research has been so very limited and heavily regulated that now we have three new outlets for research to be done, and that’s really phenomenal for patients, not just in Pennsylvania but around the country,” said April Hutcheson, a Health Department spokeswoman.

The program is a partnership between the business side of growing and dispensing and approved universities. Penn State College of Medicine, Drexel University and Thomas Jefferson University will conduct clinical research on the 21 serious medical conditions outlines under the law. 

“Different ratios and different strains to THC and CBD have a different impact on patients, and in these universities, we’ll be able to study those specific impacts and be able to make recommendations, clinical recommendations for patients to really help them find more relief,” Hutcheson said.

Sen. Mike Folmer, a co-sponsor of the legislation that legalized medical marijuana, says the research sets our state apart from others. 

“The reason why we passed a medical cannabis program in Pennsylvania was to give people, patients an additional arrow in their quiver as they’re going to battle with their diseases, and by having this component, we’re finding we will be able to understand what cannabis is and how to implement it, maybe even fine-tuning it,” Folmer said.

The Health Department will announce next month what research will be conducted. 

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