Cannabis Conversations in Canada: Is There a Need for More Medical Research?
There may be sweeping changes coming to Canada. The Medical Cannabis Research Roundtable, is urging the Canadian government to invest $120,000 in research. Here’s why.
What is the Medical Cannabis Research Roundtable?
According to the international Arthritis Society, the Medical Cannabis Research Roundtable (MCRR) is “a high-level group of physicians, clinicians, patients, health charities, experts and medical researchers.” These researchers are the same ones who made their case for cannabis in front of the U.S. federal government, convincing them to invest at least $25 million in cannabis-based medical research.
The trials are slated to start over the next five years.
This statement in Canada came on May 4, 2016. The new push is designed to accelerate studies into the positive or negative health impacts of cannabis. It’s also supposed to investigate “potential therapeutic benefits” of cannabis when used medicinally.
The Arthritis Society is headquartered in El Segundo, California. It has a European HQ in Copenhagen, Denmark. And, to get the visibility they need, and for the MCRR’s encouragement of cannabis medical research, the Arthritis Society earmarked $20,000 for a research grant for the MCRR.
MCRR Recommends Federal Government Investment in Medical Cannabis
In its final report, called, “Clearing the Air,” the MCRR details plans and ideas for the Canadian clinical trials it wants. It also highlights the barriers to patient access in the country. The report claims, “[a]s the federal government examines options for legalization of cannabis for recreational use, it is imperative that momentum not be lost and opportunities not be overlooked with respect to the uses of medical cannabis.”
The purpose of the research is to:
- Improve understanding of current cannabis research in Canada.
- Identify important cannabis researchers.
- Identify research priorities for medical cannabis in clinical science, health services, and national policy.
- Make cannabis research relevant to everyone involved in, and affected by, cannabis policies that are currently in place.
There are several main focuses of the MCRR’s medical cannabis research plan. These include:
- Better understanding of the ways the endocannabinoid system (ECS, for short) works and reacts in relation to diseases and illnesses of the human body and mind.
- A better understanding of how cannabinoids and synthetic cannabinoids help with diseases and symptoms.
- A better understanding of how cannabinoids relieve pain and inflammation.
- A better understanding of how smoke-free and non-smoked cannabis can deliver medicinal benefits and relieve symptoms.
- A better understanding of the effect of different levels of cannabinoid dosing.
- A better understanding of how cannabinoids are absorbed, distributed, metabolized, and excreted by the human body.
The report points out that the main requirement here for the testing is the effects of cannabis on people and animals. This is of particular interest to people suffering from cancer and other ailments, where medical marijuana is currently thought to be the best method of controlling pain. Meaning, it can help medical marijuana patients in Canada.
But, researchers also want to find out if there are medicinal effects that extend beyond palliative measures. For example, can cannabis heal or reverse certain diseases? Without state-permissible cannabis, the studies cannot be carried out.
Danny Russell is a medical research assistant, a job he has been in for the last couple of years. He enjoys his work and shares some of his thoughts and insights with the general public in his articles.