A scientific study of medical marijuana spearheaded by the University of Minnesota could play an indirect role in helping expand the state’s MMJ program, which would ultimately boost the market for cannabis businesses.
Researchers at the university are testing whether medical marijuana can help treat pain caused by sickle cell disease. The team is ready for human trials, but Minnesota law forbids the testing of cannabis on people. Additionally, the state’s recently approved medical marijuana legislation doesn’t include sickle cell disease in the list of qualifying medical conditions for the MMJ program.
Since the research team can’t conduct human trials in Minnesota, it is moving the project to California, where it will test the effects of marijuana on several dozen patients using money from a $9.5 million grant.
This could help advocates build a case for expanding Minnesota’s law to allow human trials involving cannabis, as they could point to the economic loss for the university and the state of the project moving to California.
Human trials could lead to solid research showing that cannabis can indeed help alleviate pain cause by certain ailments, which then in turn might convince Minnesota – and other states – to expand the list of qualifying medical conditions. That would bring more patients into the fold.
Minnesota’s Department of Health is currently appointing a task force to oversee medical cannabis research, and a department spokesman said additional ailments – including those related to sickle cell disease – could be added to the list in the future.