Real world use of medical cannabis is going to be put to the test in a first-of-its-kind study that should add a lot to our knowledge of the drug.
To date, studies have been somewhat piecemeal and uncontrolled because of unknown levels of active ingredients in the products that people have used.
The study is happening in Canada, where cannabis is legal for both medical and recreational use. Medical cannabis has been legal there since 2001.
The new study is called the Medical Cannabis Real-World Evidence (MC-RWE) clinical trial, and is being headed up by Dr Hance Clarke, Director of Pain Services at Toronto General Hospital. He will be working in conjunction with members of the University Health Network, a health care and medical research organization that is also based in Toronto.
The study is unique, as it will put to the test a variety of products with controlled and standardised levels of active ingredients, so researchers can keep better track as to which health outcomes are produced by which actives, and in what doses.
Participants and doctors will know exactly the doses of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol) being consumed, and users can rely on consistency from batch to batch.
To select the products they require, patients will access an online shopping portal where twelve medical cannabis products on offer. All of them have been tested for potency and safety, from seed right the way through to end product.
Dr Clarke, a key opinion leader in the pain management arena who works day to day as an anaesthetist, told News Wise: “We need the evidence to help us in prescribing the appropriate validated product, at the right dose, for the right patient. Ensuring quality standards will allow physicians and their patients to be confident about using medical cannabis to treat a wide range of pain-related ailments.”