Thomas Jefferson University Opens Registry for Patients Using Medical Marijuana

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by Patricia Silva, PhD |

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The Lambert Center for the Study of Medicinal Cannabis and Hemp  has launched, an initiative to advance the scientific community’s understanding of medical marijuana and its derivatives through the creation of a comprehensive national patient registry.

The Thomas Jefferson University center registry aims to enroll  100,000 medical marijuana patients who can share their health outcomes, serving as evidence-based resources for an array of patients, their caregivers and researchers.

“We are launching the patient registry to fill significant gaps in the science with the largest longitudinal study ever of patient-reported outcomes with medical marijuana,” Steven K. Klasko,  university president and chief executive officer, said in a press release. “The Lambert Center’s leadership in this emerging area of medicine exemplifies Jefferson’s commitment to advance the leading edge of medicine and transform the status quo in US healthcare.”

Medical marijuana is of growing interest to the multiple sclerosis (MS) patient community, with studies showing that 95 percent of  patients believe medical marijuana could be a treatment option.

Currently, the most common use of medical marijuana in the U.S. is for pain control. While marijuana isn’t strong enough to control severe pain, it can be effective for those with chronic pain. Marijuana is also safer and less addictive than opiates, and it can take the place of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as Advil or Aleve, in easing musculoskeletal pain.

Among MS patients in the 2017 survey, some 52 percent of those using medical marijuana found it beneficial.

Across patient groups, medical marijuana is reported to help to relax muscles and ease tremors in Parkinson’s disease, lessen some side effects of chemotherapy, and help those with symptoms of chronic diseases that include fibromyalgia, endometriosis, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and some inflammatory bowel diseases (IBDs).

If it enrolls 100,000 patients, the registry will be one of the largest and most comprehensive clinical databases to date in this emerging field. The registry will start recruiting patients this summer via an online platform, and through partnerships with patient and healthcare organizations, and medical marijuana dispensaries.

“Millions of patients with chronic diseases are seeking health benefits from marijuana and various cannabinoids, and many are left to experiment with cannabis products on their own. These patients and their caregivers not only deserve our support, but they can help advance scientific understanding by sharing their experiences in a research registry designed with rigor and scale,” Charles Pollack Jr., MD, director of the Lambert Center, based in Philadelphia, said in the release.

“The initiative aims to tackle complex issues related to medical marijuana. To achieve this we are focused on patient needs, rigorous science, and engagement of all stakeholders — patients, healthcare professionals, and industry — critics and advocates alike,” Pollack added.

The initiative is a public-private partnership between The Lambert Center and ioVita, a technology health company focused on chronic diseases.


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