At the Cannabis Education and Research Institute (CERI), we believe that medicinal cannabis should be subject to careful research so that its full potential can be understood. Research is critical, especially now that many states are moving to legalize cannabis recreationally — a change that often devastates the medical cannabis industry.
In Oregon, for instance, reports found that after recreational marijuana was legalized, the number of medical-only shops fell from 400 to two. Patients who relied on specific cannabis strains, often those with low levels of THC, found fewer options and significant price hikes.
A similar shrinking of medical marijuana availability also happened in California and Colorado when those states legalized recreational use. Strains useful for the medical cannabis user often are not popular with recreational users. As a result, there is less incentive for medical dispensaries to continue to cultivate medicinal strains.
The picture becomes dismal for people who rely on marijuana to control ailments such as epilepsy, nausea from cancer pain, spasms from multiple sclerosis and other chronic conditions.
At CERI, we believe the best way to preserve access to medical cannabis is through reputable research — research that could prompt third-party payers to cover medical cannabis. Coverage of cannabis could sustain the market for medical marijuana.
To advance research, CERI will soon begin a series of Patient Centered Outcome Research (PCOR) studies to obtain feedback from medical cannabis users. We will collaborate on the research with the Compassionate Care Foundation (CCF) medical marijuana dispensary in Egg Harbor Township. CCF research already has found that many people using opioids for chronic pain can reduce or stop their opioid use with medicinal marijuana. We also plan research into the effect of cannabis on pain and nausea related to cancer and cancer treatment.
And we believe there is an urgent need for a study to explore vaping of cannabis as hundreds of people across the nation have been sickened by vaping marijuana.
CERI advocates strongly for a change in the Drug Enforcement Administration classification of marijuana as a Schedule 1 drug, meaning the government says there is no accepted medical use of marijuana. Using cannabis in laboratory research, even in states where it’s legal, is a federal felony — creating a chilling affect that continues to hold back research.
Our Board of Trustees is comprised of physicians, scientists, and public policy experts who believe that CERI can advance research and objective analysis of medical cannabis. We will keep our supporters apprised as we move forward with our mission to advance research and knowledge of cannabis.