July 19, 2013

Landmark Cannabis Study Could Shape Medical Marijuana Business Regulations in Future

Image for marijuana studies

A five-year study on medical cannabis use spearheaded by a federal government agency could have lasting repercussions for the MMJ industry, both positive and negative.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has awarded Drexel University a $3.3 million grant to examine the impact of medical marijuana on young adults in Los Angeles, including whether it leads to higher levels of drug use among that demographic.

A big part of the study will focus on the MMJ business community, with researchers looking into how dispensaries affect the physical and psychological health of locals between the ages of 18 and 26.

“Dispensaries are a relatively new and unusual institution, and they haven’t been studied much,” Dr. Stephen Lankenau, an associate professor in Drexel’s School of Public Health, said in a release announcing the grant.

It’s a landmark development, marking the first time that a US government agency has funded a large study on the affects of cannabis and the MMJ industry in general. This in itself shows that attitudes about cannabis are starting to change in the halls of power. The federal government has largely shunned marijuana research in the past, as officials aren’t too keen on spending money to study a Schedule I controlled substance.

That’s put the cannabis industry at a major disadvantage: With a lack of solid research about the positive aspects of MMJ, the feds can keep falling back on the old refrain that marijuana has no valid medical use and is a dangerous drug.

The NIH-funded study could therefore give cannabis advocates some much-needed data to help pass medical marijuana laws and strengthen the credibility of the industry. It also might open the door for more government-funded research, which could in turn bolster the cannabis cause.

Lankenau said he hopes the study will have an immediate real-world impact and “can guide medical marijuana policies at local, state and national levels to result in the most positive health outcomes for young adults and communities.”

Many cannabis supporters have been calling for federal research on marijuana for years, convinced that such studies will prove once and for all that the benefits of the plant to patients, communities and the country in general far outweigh any negatives. Thorough studies could also prove that the potential downsides trumpeted by MMJ opponents (more crime, more teen use, etc.) are overblown or completely false.

But be careful what you wish for: The study could also harm medical marijuana efforts if the findings reflect poorly on the industry and MMJ in general. If, for instance, the study finds that medical marijuana laws lead to increases in drug use among young adults, then it becomes a powerful weapon for cannabis opponents across the country. Communities with existing MMJ laws could look to introduce new operational limits on cannabis businesses, while states considering legalization could shoot down such proposals. And Los Angeles isn’t exactly the best place to conduct a study about the impact of MMJ laws, given that there haven’t been regulations on the industry.

So far, though, there’s reason to be optimistic. It seems the research team is approaching the study with a very open mind.

“One study hypothesis is that dispensaries, which often provide social support in addition to medical marijuana, may provide the basis for better physical and psychological outcomes for medical marijuana users, compared to non-medical users who purchase the drug on the black market,” Drexel University said in a news release announcing the grant.

If the study verifies that hypothesis, the cannabis industry will surely benefit.


3 Comments:

  1. Excellent! We’re on our way–and CPN is all about patients leading the way with future research efforts!

    https://www.facebook.com/pages/Cannabis-Patient-Network/255034017945223

  2. Maybe they should conduct this study in a City/State where marijuana is actually regulated?

  3. What dispensaries I thought they recently pass new laws that put a stop to all despensarries

Post Your Comment:


Please note:
Comments are moderated by our editors who do their best to approve comments ASAP. As Marijuana Business Daily is focused on business, we approve comments that are specifically relevant to industry professionals. General opinions and questions about cannabis may not be posted.

New York Taking Applications for Medical Cannabis Business Licenses

Ready, set, go! Entrepreneurs can now apply for medical cannabis business licenses in New York, [click to continue...]

Video Statement Part of Settlement Tied to $100M Lawsuit

In an unusual legal settlement, a Colorado company has issued a video statement about its [click to continue...]

WA Gov. Signs Sweeping Bill Moving MMJ Into Rec Program

News about Washington medical cannabis dispensaries, state marijuana laws and marijiana businesses

Washington State’s MMJ program will officially be rolled into its recreational market after Gov. Jay [click to continue...]

Minnesota MMJ Companies Raise $30M

The two companies selected to grow and dispense medical cannabis in Minnesota have raised a [click to continue...]

Canadian MMJ Crackdown On the Way?

Medical marijuana businesses in Vancouver, British Columbia, may soon be in the city’s crosshairs. The [click to continue...]

Seed-to-Sale Tracking Trend Continues With New Mexico

seed to sale

An increasing number of states are requiring cannabis companies to track every plant from seed [click to continue...]

Oregon Catering to Cash-Carrying Cannabis Businesses

The agency in charge of overseeing Oregon’s recreational marijuana industry is planning to add a [click to continue...]

Bill Would Prevent Feds From Targeting Compliant MJ Companies

Cannabis business owners harassed by federal prosecutors despite operating legally in their respective states would [click to continue...]

Florida Medical Marijuana Measures Fizzle Out

FloridaMedicalMarijuana

An attempt to legalize medical marijuana in Florida this year via the state Legislature is [click to continue...]

Ohio Group Claims Sabotage in Legalization Efforts

An Ohio organization pushing for medical marijuana legalization in the state says a stronger, more [click to continue...]

California Industry Association Head Faces Suit to Close Dispensary

A dispensary run by the president of the California Cannabis Industry Association has come under [click to continue...]

Oregon Expects 2,000 Applicants for Recreational MJ Licenses

Oregonoutline

Oregon officials in charge of regulating the state’s up-and-coming recreational marijuana industry expect roughly 2,000 [click to continue...]

Marijuana Testing Lab Seeks $5 Million for International Expansion

One of the first commercial cannabis testing labs in the United States is seeking $5 [click to continue...]

Anti-Marijuana DEA Chief to Resign

The head of the Drug Enforcement Agency will resign next month, prompting cheers from cannabis [click to continue...]

Marijuana Business Daily