Eight Pennsylvania universities have been certified as Academic Clinical Research Centers for cannabis research as part of the state’s medical marijuana program Gov. Tom Wolf announced today.
It’s the first authorization of clinical research on marijuana in the commonwealth.
The research will take place at the medical schools at Drexel University, Temple University, Thomas Jefferson University, and the University of Pennsylvania, along with the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, all in Philadelphia; the Penn State medical school in Hershey, the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and the Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine in Erie.
“The research component of Pennsylvania’s medical marijuana program sets it apart from the rest of the nation,” Wolf said in a statement. “Today, medical research is so limited by the federal government that only a few doctors can even have access to medical marijuana. Pennsylvania’s premiere medical schools will be able to help shape the future of treatment for patients who are in desperate need not just here, but across the country.”
The schools will study the effectiveness and safety of different forms of medical marijuana for various symptoms and diseases.
State officials also announced on Monday that Pennsylvania has expanded the number of medical conditions for which medical marijuana is available to include opioid use disorder – the first to do so.
“It’s important to note that medical marijuana is not a substitute for proven treatments for opioid-use disorder,” the state’s health secretary, Dr. Rachel Levine, said in a statement. “In Pennsylvania, medical marijuana will be available to patients if all other treatment fails, or if a physician recommends that it be used in conjunction with traditional therapies.”
Levine also announced the medical marijuana law in Pennsylvania will also now allow medical cannabis use to treat neurodegenerative diseases, terminal illness, and dyskinetic and spastic movement disorders.
More than 37,000 patients have registered to participate in Pennsylvania’s medical marijuana program, state officials said. Nearly half of them have received an ID card and started getting medical marijuana from a dispensary.