Oakland, California (EastBayDaily) — An estimated 5 million people legally use medical cannabis in the 16 states (plus the District of Columbia) that have approved medical cannabis laws. However, the United States federal government classifies the plant as a Schedule I substance under the Controlled Substances Act, resulting in federal obstruction of cannabis research. This classification makes it extremely difficult to get approval and funding for studies into the efficacy of cannabis and creates a barrier for professionals who wish to recommend cannabis treatment to millions of individuals.
Frustrated by this stalemate, the nation’s leading medical cannabis provider, Harborside Health Center of Oakland, California, is looking beyond the US, and has joined up with the Beckley Foundation, the highly respected UK institution dedicated to health-oriented drug policy reform and scientific research into controlled substances, to design an in-depth patient survey on medical cannabis use. Professors from University College London will review and analyze the data obtained from the survey.
“The federal government’s continued assertion that cannabis has no medical use—which study after study has shown not to be true—has made it nearly impossible to conduct the kinds of careful scientific studies we would like to perform in order to best serve the 104,000 patients who rely on us to treat an incredibly wide range of ailments,” says Steve DeAngelo, the Executive Director of Harborside. “Fortunately, we have found enthusiastic partners at the Beckley Foundation who are as eager to see the results as we are.”
Among other things, results will reveal which types (like cannabis flower buds or cannabis infused edible products), which species (such as Sativa or Indica), which strains of cannabis, and what cannabinoid contents (like THC and CBD ratios) are found by patients to be the best for treating specific medical conditions and symptoms. The survey asks patients about their current medical cannabis use, medical cannabis use in general, and how medical cannabis compares to other treatments such as pharmaceuticals. The survey intends to build the leading database of information on the effectiveness of differing strains of cannabis and cannabinoid contents in managing differing symptoms and conditions.
The study was designed by Dr. David Schwartzman, of the Beckley Foundation, and Jennifer Janichek, MA, of Harborside’s Substance Use & Misuse Clinical Services Program. It was reviewed by Lady Amanda Feilding, founder of the Beckley Foundation; Steve DeAngelo of Harborside; and Prof. Valery Curran, from University College London’s Clinical Psychopharmacology Unit.
The Beckley Foundation is the leading UK think tank that promotes the scientific investigation of consciousness and its modulation from a multidisciplinary perspective, and the reform of global drug policy in order to reflect a more rational, evidence-based, cost-effective approach that shifts the emphasis from criminalization to health and human rights. http://www.BeckleyFoundation.org.
Lady Amanda Feilding founded the Beckley Foundation in 1998 with the purpose of investigating how psychoactive substances work, and what is the best way for society to control their inevitable presence. She has built up a collaborative network of leading scientists around the world, with whom she works on a wide range of projects. Key studies involving cannabis include research into the physiological effects of THC, the therapeutic potential of CBD, and the chemical content of differing strains of cannabis in medical use. She also convened the blueprint on cannabis control, co-published with Oxford University Press: “Cannabis Policy: Moving Beyond Stalemate.” This important work by the world's leading drug policy analysts concludes that cannabis prohibition policies have comprehensively failed and outlines alternative policies from decriminalization to a strictly regulated legal market.
Steve DeAngelo, Executive Director of Harborside Health Center, is a cannabis industry leader, movement strategist and lifelong activist. Steve founded Steep Hill, the first cannabis testing lab, and pioneered CBD-rich medicine. Steve writes and speaks widely on the subject of cannabis, and his creation of the world’s model medical cannabis dispensary has been extensively covered in national and international news media. His past accomplishments include organizing I-59, Washington D.C.’s medical cannabis initiative; Hemp Tour, which brought hemp to the heartland; and Ecolution, Inc., which produced hemp garments and accessories from 1990-2000. A summa cum laude graduate of the University of Maryland, Steve is a founding, charter member of Americans for Safe Access and the star of the Discovery Channel series “Weed Wars.”
The University College London’s Clinical Psychopharmacology Unit (CPU) researches how drugs act on the brain to influence human cognition, behavior and emotion. Using classic behavioral and neuropsychological tools as well as psychophysiological recordings and neuroimaging, CPU studies the short- and long-term effects of drugs used medically and those used “recreationally.”
All Harborside patients are asked to fill out the confidential and anonymous online questionnaire, which can be found at http://cannabisstudy.com/. The survey will be ongoing.
“The more patients we hear from, the stronger the results. We ask that patients contribute to this groundbreaking research so that we can utilize patient experience and knowledge to increase our understanding of the medical applications of cannabis,” states Janichek.
About Harborside Health Center Founded by national cannabis leader Steve DeAngelo in 2006, Harborside Health Center is the nation's largest not-for-profit model medical cannabis dispensary. The Oakland medicinal cannabis collective offers its 104,000 registered patients free holistic healing services, lab-tested medicine and education. Harborside was featured on the Discovery Channel's miniseries "Weed Wars" in December of 2011.
"Out of the shadows and into the light" epitomizes DeAngelo's mission to enlighten the public on the many medicinal and therapeutic benefits of the plant and actively works to empower the country to change its image of medical marijuana.
For more information about the Oakland holistic healing center, call (510) 533-0146 or visit http://www.harborsidehealthcenter.com/.