By Dr. Jeff G. Konin
As the landscape for marijuana in Florida is changing at warp speed, this is a good time to put a plug in for a program that only began in 2019. The Consortium focuses on conducting, sharing, and supporting research on the effects of medical marijuana on health conditions and symptoms. Medical marijuana clinical outcomes research is accomplished through 5 identified pillars:
- Grants program
- MEdical Marijuana Clinical Outcomes RepositorY (MEMORY)
- Clinical Research Core
- Scientific Expert Group
- Outreach program
The Consortium is housed at the University of Florida and is comprised of 9 member Universities:
*Florida Atlantic University
*Florida A & M University
*Florida Gulf Coast University
*Florida International University
*Florida Memorial University
*Florida State University
*University of Central Florida
*University of Florida
*University of Miami
The need for research in this area driven by our flagship institutions is supported by the more than 650,000 Floridians now holding medical marijuana cards. Since its inception, the Consortium grants program has awarded 30 researchers from 7 of the 9 member institutions a total of over $2 million. Recent awarded projects have studied the acceptance of medical marijuana and CBD as a form of palliative care, characterizing adverse drug events reported with cannabis use, cannabis and its role with acute and chronic pain, inflammation, neuropathies, and fibrosis to name a few. Specific conditions being studied have included Crohn’s disease, diabetes, anxiety, anorexia nervosa, and headaches.
The Consortium provides resources for patients, practitioners, researchers, and industry. This includes a quarterly newsletter and an annual report that share many nuggets of information for all stakeholders. As noted in the “Winter 2021 Medicament” newsletter published by the Consortium, “a lack of cannabis use assessments contributes to under-documenting cannabis use, unprepared clinicians, low quality health record data, and limited research on a wide array of cannabis-related health outcomes.”
On May 19th – 20th of 2022 the Cannabis Clinical Outcomes Research Conference will be held in Orlando and will serve as a valuable opportunity to exchange ideas, findings, and potential for future collaborative work. This year’s keynote speakers will include Dr. Staci Gruber from McLean Hospital in Massachusetts who heads up the Marijuana Investigations for Neuroscience Discovery (MIND) program, Dr. Samer Narouze who serves as the President of the American Society of Regional Anesthesia and Pain Medicine who is a professor in the College of Medicine at Ohio State University, and Dr. Kent Hutchison, a professor of psychiatry at the University of Colorado in Boulder.
There are many more programs sponsored by the Consortium that have rapidly developed as reputable statewide offerings. To learn more about these programs you can visit https://mmjoutcomes.org/
Dr. Jeff G. Konin is a Clinical Professor in the Department of Athletic Training in the Nicole Wertheim College of Nursing and Health Sciences at Florida International University (FIU) where he directs the Global Initiative for Cannabinoid Research and Education. To learn more about FIU’s cannabinoid research and education initiative you can visit their website at https://go.fiu.edu/GlobalCannabis. Views represented in this column do not reflect that of Florida International University and are solely attributed to Dr. Jeff G. Konin.