By the end of last year, more than 30 states had launched some kind of medical cannabis market. But with each state independently passing its own policies, this has led to a patchwork of different medical cannabis legislation across the country. Last week, a top federal agency revealed that it plans on creating a countrywide medical cannabis registry that would allow it to study how patients use medical marijuana.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) has pledged to provide funding worth $1.5 million to researchers to help them develop a nationwide medical cannabis registry capable of tracking how medical cannabis patients in all legal states obtain and use medical cannabis as well as their medical outcomes. As NIDA stated in its request for applications (RFA), three-quarters of the states in the country have legalized medical cannabis, although each state has varying conditions regarding qualifying medical conditions and the types of medical marijuana products patients are allowed to use.
This patchwork landscape makes it extremely difficult for the agency to analyze medical cannabis use and how it is impacting the public. The information that is available is not standardized and cannot be used to understand the broader health outcomes associated with medical cannabis use, the agency explained.
NIDA also noted that there is little standardized information regarding the medical marijuana products being used because of lax laws surrounding labeling. As such, the agency will need to collect all the relevant information on medical cannabis products.
This registry will allow NIDA to study how different medical cannabis products affect patients and obtain a clearer idea of potential risks and benefits. According to the agency’s request for applications, the objective of this new information-gathering process is to find out which medical marijuana products are being used, the reasons why they are being used and the outcomes of use.
The agency is looking for a wide dataset from the medical cannabis industry that includes cannabis strains, cannabis forms, delivery methods, most prevalent cannabinoids, medical marijuana card status and the symptoms being addressed by medical cannabis treatment. NIDA is also interested in information pertaining to changes in other pharmaceutical and illicit drug use after the onset of medical marijuana treatment, as well as interactions between cannabis and other drugs.
Researchers who would like to take part in creating the registry and keeping it up to date can begin submitting applications on Oct. 15, 2022. They will be allowed to send in their applications for NIDA funding until Nov. 16, 2022.
These moves by federal agencies such as NIDA offer a ray of hope that real reforms may not be far off and industry actors, such as Flora Growth Corp. (NASDAQ: FLGC), may finally have a framework within which to operate nationally.
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