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With new $2.2M grant, U-M researchers will study use of medical marijuana for pain
Study will involve 800 Michiganders participating in state's registry system

ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Across the country, patients use marijuana in hopes that it will ease the symptoms of conditions such as cancer, seizures, glaucoma and pain. Twenty states and the District of Columbia have made this use legal – including Michigan, where more than 135,000 patients are now in a four-year-old statewide registry of approved medical marijuana users.

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But this wave of legalization has occurred without much independent research to support the drug’s use for these conditions – which has helped fuel the ongoing debate about such laws. And marijuana remains illegal on a federal level.

Now, with a new $2.2 million, four-year federal research grant, a team of University of Michigan Medical School researchers will try to document medical marijuana’s potential impact in a more scientific way, in one of the states that has authorized its use.

The funding, from the National Institute on Drug Abuse, will pay for a two-year study of 800 Michigan patients who are seeking to obtain state certification for the use of medical marijuana for pain.

The team will approach patients who are at their first doctor’s appointment as part of the process to obtain the certification that’s needed to become a registered medical marijuana user in Michigan. Patients may not proactively volunteer for the study; they must be approached by a member of the team in one of the participating clinics.

Each person who agrees to take part in the study will answer an array of questions at the outset, and again every six months over the course of two years.The U-M researchers will look at their symptoms, everyday functioning, and use of health care services, and other factors.

“With the ongoing policy debate and the growing popularity of medical marijuana programs in the United States, it is essential to understand the ramifications of medical marijuana use for individuals who seek access to it,” says study leader Mark Ilgen, Ph.D., an experienced researcher on topics related to substance use and abuse. “We hope that with this study can help inform the debate.”

A psychologist who has studied substance use and abuse for 10 years, Ilgen is an associate professor in the U-M Department of Psychiatry and the principal investigator on the new grant.

“Marijuana is the most frequently used drug in the nation, and has been legalized for medical use in many ways, yet we have very little understanding of how individuals using medical marijuana do over time,” says Frederic Blow, Ph.D., a co-investigator on the study and experienced substance abuse researcher who directs the Mental Health Services Outcomes & Translation Section at the U-M Medical School. “We hope this study will help provide much-needed data on the characteristics of those who seek medical marijuana, and the longer-term impact on their health and lives.”

Grant: National Institute on Drug Abuse, National Institutes of Health, R01DA033397

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There is some expectation that the results will be legitimate. We can identify any that are not.

No, there isn't. Not based on all the previous governmentally sponsored 'research' on mj. It's just like the tobacco company doing research on the health benefits of smoking one cig a day to help keep the doctor away.

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No, there isn't. Not based on all the previous governmentally sponsored 'research' on mj. It's just like the tobacco company doing research on the health benefits of smoking one cig a day to help keep the doctor away.

The only other option I can see is that the government continues to resists research. I thought we were past that. This is the University of Michigan that will perform the study. Do you think it an institute not to be trusted?

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I didn't know NASA smoked.  If u don't flush chem nutes it's worse for you than organics? no?  Ingesting is not the same as smoking  Why would we "depend" on GH nutes for the "best" meds?  You do realize we've used mj for meds before chem nutes.  Sorry I don't see why we would be coupling a nutrient company with our meds in reliance.  you lost me.  It's hard enough to get a fair shake in a scientific study I'd only want mj with the least able to be found "harms" in it representing a scientific medical study that will be taken as truth by politicians and antis.

 

I didn't say that lack of experience led to failure I said it led to subpar meds which I wouldn't want representing in a study.  There are a lot of things that need to be learned by experience to get things right consistently.  It takes experience to grow strains right that need different nute levels.  Experience, if you learn, leads to a better caregiver.  You can overdo it with nutes, watering, etc. so being overbearing on your craft can lead to failure too.  There are a lot of things that lead to failure or subpar meds, all of which I'd rather not reflect my job or legitimacy as a caregiver reflected in a study.

 

Sorry but I hold things to a higher standard when it comes to something so many people look at like religion.  I'll characterize nutes differently when it's a patients preference rather than a scientific study.

It will be interesting to see what their declared methods are.

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The only other option I can see is that the government continues to resists research. I thought we were past that. This is the University of Michigan that will perform the study. Do you think it an institute not to be trusted?

Not necessarily, no more than any other institution, say Northwestern.

 

It's a matter of money & agendas. Think we can accept that grant money is good business for a U. And that the Federal gov't, and their associated bureaus, have an agenda re mj. The only research they support & fund are to further that agenda. If the results don't tow the gov't line, the study gets downplayed ans/or discredited and/or rebuffed w different study, along w no more grant money.

 

They also control the study, by means of grant approval & likely influence in the methodologies employed. For example, they can cherry pick study candidates, or limit the scope of investigation, or explicitely outline a desired conclusion. Their influence is the money, and future monies. And again, a U (any U) is a business enterprise, so they want that money.

 

Simple stuff.

 

If they did want to conduct real research, and to have it meaningful, and to even limit it to addiction studies, then lay off the reigns & open it up. Something of particular societal benefit might be a comparative study between mj for pain addiction vs traditional pharmacological treatments, but that wouldn't be good business.

Edited by Indigro
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Not necessarily, no more than any other institution, say Northwestern.

 

It's a matter of money & agendas. Think we can accept that grant money is good business for a U. And that the Federal gov't, and their associated bureaus, have an agenda re mj. The only research they support & fund are to further that agenda. If the results don't tow the gov't line, the study gets downplayed ans/or discredited and/or rebuffed w different study, along w no more grant money.

 

They also control the study, by means of grant approval & likely influence in the methodologies employed. For example, they can cherry pick study candidates, or limit the scope of investigation, or explicitely outline a desired conclusion. Their influence is the money, and future monies. And again, a U (any U) is a business enterprise, so they want that money.

 

Simple stuff.

 

If they did want to conduct real research, and to have it meaningful, and to even limit it to addiction studies, then lay off the reigns & open it up. Something of particular societal benefit might be a comparative study between mj for pain addiction vs traditional pharmacological treatments, but that wouldn't be good business.

Cautiously approaching this issue is smart. It is unarguably true that noises from the government and governments around the world have changed significantly. I see it a greater possibility now more than ever that the agenda is to follow acceptable study protocols and produce quality results. I see a government that is looking for a way out of prohibition, saving face as best it can, and even having a bias toward letting up on prohibition. I was around when the Schaffer Report was released. It used solid metrics and study methods to come to the clear conclusion that cannabis prohibition is unnecessary. That Nixon tossed it because it said what he did not want to hear was entirely typical for him. Other studies around the world have been conducted in good faith and support similar study conclusions. Governments around the world are looking for the best solution. They are running short of bad science to hide behind. There is, despite the hand wringer claims, a small wealth of positive study results from points across the globe.

 

I believe it apparent that the government resisted study because it is bound to clarify the issues, which is what science does. The racist agendas that have driven prohibition are now clearly understood. The lies about the effects of cannabis have glaringly been brought to light. The media is waaay on board with moving away from prohibition. Sure there may be an effort to game this study, but study must proceed. If the U of M researchers screw the pooch their mistakes will be made readily apparent. Studies are not counted as viable unless the results can be reproduced using the same methods used in an original study.  Nixon is thankfully gone and the political breeze is blowing from a different direction. Academics are typically wary about putting study results out that can make them a laughing stock within academic circles and trash their jealously guarded reputations among their peers who will be waiting by to happily correct them.

 

So we watch and wait. I do not intend to call the study out until some sort of imprecision or scam is shown. I intend to watch closely.

Edited by GregS
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Greg- I hope you are correct. I doubt it, based on life's experiences, but nonetheless, I still hope for a better tomorrow. Not exactly the idealist (nor optimist) I once was, but all hope is not exstinguished. On this one small issue, we shall see soon enough. It would be nice see real & subatantive research come out of a US institution.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Cautiously approaching this issue is smart. It is unarguably true that noises from the government and governments around the world have changed significantly. I see it a greater possibility now more than ever that the agenda is to follow acceptable study protocols and produce quality results. I see a government that is looking for a way out of prohibition, saving face as best it can, and even having a bias toward letting up on prohibition. I was around when the Schaffer Report was released. It used solid metrics and study methods to come to the clear conclusion that cannabis prohibition is unnecessary. That Nixon tossed it because it said what he did not want to hear was entirely typical for him. Other studies around the world have been conducted in good faith and support similar study conclusions. Governments around the world are looking for the best solution. They are running short of bad science to hide behind. There is, despite the hand wringer claims, a small wealth of positive study results from points across the globe.

 

I believe it apparent that the government resisted study because it is bound to clarify the issues, which is what science does. The racist agendas that have driven prohibition are now clearly understood. The lies about the effects of cannabis have glaringly been brought to light. The media is waaay on board with moving away from prohibition. Sure there may be an effort to game this study, but study must proceed. If the U of M researchers screw the pooch their mistakes will be made readily apparent. Studies are not counted as viable unless the results can be reproduced using the same methods used in an original study.  Nixon is thankfully gone and the political breeze is blowing from a different direction. Academics are typically wary about putting study results out that can make them a laughing stock within academic circles and trash their jealously guarded reputations among their peers who will be waiting by to happily correct them.

 

So we watch and wait. I do not intend to call the study out until some sort of imprecision or scam is shown. I intend to watch closely.

 

I agree. Mark Ilgen, Phd (not MD), the study director, from past publications, seems to be mostly concerned with violent behavior.

 

I would bet right now that mmj medicated patients are more peaceful than narcotic users.

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