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Pennsylvania asks cannabis companies to join research rat race

Medical Marijuana


The state will be launching a research program on medical marijuana and are inviting CBD companies to run for their research investment initiatives. Companies interested will have to send in their applications to qualify as a noted company in that research program. They also need to possess any ongoing, or prior research contracts with any of the 8 health systems that are state approved.

If they are selected,they’ll be given a special permit to open 6 new retail dispensaries and even cultivate cannabis.

April 11th has been slotted as the final deadline but will that be enough time for companies to prepare all they have?

Are these applications just a formality?

Earlier, Pennsylvania rejected all applications it had received, citing technical issues as the main reason. That happened the first time this research program was announced.

Then, 5 medical centres based in Philadelphia had already signed contracts with cannabis companies and this was a while back, possibly even a year.

There are other partnerships taking place as well, with the most recent one being that of the University of Pennsylvania. The university had partnered with the Curaleaf organisation for research purposes.

Next is the tie up between Acreage and the Drexel University: Jefferson Health with Solterra or the Main Line Investment Partners. Even the Philadelphia College has a number of similar efforts, the last one with the Osteopathic Medicine with Cansortium.

This Pennsylvania program was the result of a plea from Republican law makers, for more research on the medial marijuana now that it’s been legalised.

But it won’t be that easy!

First, it’s the health systems that will be designing the entire research process for the companies to follow. Next, all those directly involved in the research won’t be able to work use the actual products or the plants in order to learn from them. This has to do with a Federal restriction that outlaws marijuana.

If the drug is literally handled by them, it could cut off funding coming in from Medicaid and Medicare.

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As a result, all patients registered as part of the study will have report data themselves. Following this pattern, it’s highly unlikely that the research will ever be considered as a legitimate scientific publication.

How are the cannabis companies approaching this?

Companies seeking to apply will have to gather up patient data on  their own and present their potential findings to the health system’s own research panel.

The expenses of these preliminary research efforts will be borne by the companies themselves.

Most of the top CBD companies inside Pennsylvania are already way ahead of things. They’ve begun sharing research reports with the health systems in accordance with the requirements put forward by the state. They are however sceptical given the legal restrictions that undermine the value of the research efforts. And then there’s the technical issue cut off as well.

They’ve sent in similar applications to other research firms, so they don’t miss out on other opportunities, should they not succeed with Pennsylvania.

Ivan writes about Cannabis at The Cannabis Radar. He has a degree in Nutrition Sciences from University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Centre. He likes to spend his spare time reading to his daughter or spending time with his wife.

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