Anxiety, Tourette’s added to Pennsylvania’s medical marijuana program

HARRISBURG, Pa. - Pennsylvania's Department of Health, along with the first three approved universities and marijuana facility teams came together to discuss what researchers will be doing in the state's medical marijuana research program, the first of its kind in the nation.

"We have an opportunity here to really address the needs of the people of Pennsylvania," said Kent Vrana, Pharmacology chair at Penn State College of Medicine. "And provide them the best possible care."

Before diving into what this research will look like, Department of Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine announced by July 20th people with anxiety disorders and Tourette syndrome will be able to use medical marijuana to treat their conditions. However, she warns with a lack of research, the drug should not be used as the first option to treat these conditions.

"I strongly recommend that patients with anxiety disorders have counseling and therapy," said Dr. Levine. "And then even, if they're going to be using medical marijuana, they continue that counseling and therapy."

The lack of research on the drug and how it effects different medical conditions is exactly why the state launched the research program. Vrana says, Penn State College of Medicine's research will have a three-prong approach.

  1. They will track which forms of marijuana are most effective in treating different medical conditions.
  2. They will conduct a double-blind placebo study to see if marijuana is truly effective in managing pain.
  3. Marijuana will be dissected for its components beyond THC and CBD.

Over the next few months, the approved universities and their medical marijuana growers will continue to solidify their research plans before research begins.

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