Yale will study med­i­cal mar­i­juana ef­fect on stress, pain

The Register Citizen (Torrington, CT) - - FRONT PAGE - ByLizTeitz

Yale School of Medicine and med­i­cal mar­i­juana pro­ducer CTPharma are part­ner­ing to study the drug’s ef­fects on stress and pain, they an­nounced Fri­day.

The re­search pro­gram, which is the fourth au­tho­rized through the state’s De­part­ment of Con­sumer Pro­tec­tion, will test ef­fects of dif­fer­ent dosages of med­i­cal mar­i­juana in two stud­ies over the next two years.

In the first study, par­tic­i­pants will re­ceive dif­fer­ent doses of Cannabid­iol, Tetrahy­dro­cannabi­nol and place­bos over a six­week pe­riod. “We want to mea­sure what are the lev­els in the blood and in urine of the ac­tive in­gre­di­ents that we’re giv­ing, and then we want to know, what are its psy­cho­log­i­cal and phys­i­o­log­i­cal ef­fects,” Yale pro­fes­sor Ra­jita Sinha said.

That will in­clude mea­sur­ing vi­tal signs and de­ter­min­ing how long dif­fer­ent amounts and com­bi­na­tions of the drugs take to peak and come down, she said. “Then, we’re go­ing to ac­tu­ally chal­lenge peo­ple in what we call stress and pain provo­ca­tion.”

“It al­lows us to see how the phys­i­ol­ogy changes with that, and also how your own pain and stress rat­ings change with that, and whether the drugs are chang­ing that,” Sinha said. “We will also then mon­i­tor mood, anx­i­ety, stress lev­els, sleep and pain.”

The sec­ond study will fo­cus on peo­ple with chronic pain, and test ef­fects of chronic dos­ing of med­i­cal mar­i­juana.

All of the mar­i­juana prod­ucts will come from CTPharma, and are pro­duced in Con­necti­cut.

“There’s ob­vi­ously a big move­ment go­ing on across the coun­try to as­sess and think about how med­i­cal mar­i­juana prod­ucts can be use­ful to al­le­vi­ate pa­tients’ symp­toms,” Sinha said. “We wanted to see if we could un­der­stand it bet­ter: How does it work? Who does it work for? What doses do we use? Can we learn more about it? Which symp­toms can be al­le­vi­ated?”

It’s taken two and a half years to get through the reg­u­la­tory and ap­proval pro­cesses, she said, and she hopes to have the first two stud­ies com­pleted within the next year and a half to two years.

The De­part­ment of Con­sumer Pro­tec­tion has au­tho­rized three other re­search pro­grams through the Med­i­cal Mar­i­juana Re­search Pro­gram, Com­mis­sioner Michelle Seag­ull

said. One is look­ing “at pain more specif­i­cally,” an­other at the ef­fects on can­cer pa­tients’ ap­petites, and a third on the “ge­netic im­pact of the prod­uct on pa­tients,” she said.

The in­creased re­search is “re­ally what physi­cians and pre­scribers want to un­der­stand be­fore they en­cour­age a pa­tient to use med­i­cal mar­i­juana, they al­ways want more sci­ence,” Seag­ull said.

“We want to un­der­stand

the pos­i­tives and neg­a­tives, we want to un­der­stand where we can cap­ture ther­a­peu­tic po­ten­tial and trans­late that into treat­ments and into pre­ven­tions,” Sinha said.

Con­necti­cut cur­rently al­lows the use of med­i­cal mar­i­juana for 36 con­di­tions for adults, and 10 for chil­dren and teenagers. “We’re serv­ing over 40,000 pa­tients in the state of Con­necti­cut and we have over 1,000 cer­ti­fied prac­ti­tion­ers,” Seag­ull said.

Sinha said these stud­ies, and re­search in the field of med­i­cal mar­i­juana, have

been shaped by lessons learned about the ef­fects of opi­oids.

“We’ve cer­tainly learned a lot from the opi­oid ex­pe­ri­ence and opi­oid use dis­or­ders, and what ther­a­peu­tic medicines in the opi­oid arena have done and what they’ve led to,” she said. “That learn­ing has been crit­i­cal in think­ing about how we ap­proach this,” Sinha said. One ex­am­ple is how knowl­edge about tol­er­ance of psy­choac­tive drugs, which have both phys­i­o­log­i­cal and psy­cho­log­i­cal ef­fects, has in­formed the study and some of the re

searchers’ ques­tions, she said.

CTPharma’s board chair­man, for­mer Lieu­tenant Gov­er­nor Michael Fedele, said he hopes re­search like Yale’s lays the ground­work to draw more biotech in­dus­try to the state.

“There is sig­nif­i­cant biotech­ni­cal in­ter­est in re­search re­lated to med­i­cal mar­i­juana,” he said. “I be­lieve that sig­nif­i­cant biotech in­dus­try will grow right here in Con­necti­cut be­cause of this type of study that is go­ing on.”

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