The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) and Arkansas Center for Health Improvement (ACHI) have received a $1.3 million federal grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse to study medical marijuana in the Natural State.
The study dives deeper into the outcomes of health for patients who have been approved for medical cannabis cards in Arkansas and will focus on how treatment plans are working overtime.
This study, as a part of the new wave of more relaxed laws and regulations from traditionally closed off federal funding, provides one of the first of its kind for Arkansas and for the federal government.
Antiquated Federal Laws Prevent Research on Cannabis
The medicinal benefits of medical marijuana are well documented. Although research is still limited, it's been shown to help patients with conditions such as epilepsy, glaucoma, and multiple sclerosis.
But federal law prohibits the use of medical marijuana in any form, even when it would be legal under state laws, because there are no approved medical properties as far as the feds are concerned.
In fact, the Federal government maintains cannabis as a Schedule I drug, which means that for our body of government, cannabis meets these requirements:
Schedule I drugs, substances, or chemicals are defined as drugs with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse. Some examples of Schedule I drugs are:
heroin, lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), marijuana (cannabis), 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (ecstasy), methaqualone, and peyote
This definition, which we of course know is medically, scientifically, and historically false, has been the bane of cannabis research in the United States.
Having cannabis on the Schedule I list from the DEA prevents researchers from using federal grant money to research cannabis, and federal grant money is one of the most important resources for medical and scientific research to be financed.
Feds Loosen Shackles on Marijuana Money for Research
2021 has been full of legislative proposals for cannabis reform, on both the state and federal level.
In fact, there have been a lot of changes concerning marijuana in 2021, even on the corporate level.
This year alone we’ve seen more states add medical marijuana programs, Amazon switch sides in favor of cannabis, the feds propose legalization and relax on grant money, and of course, the FBI has lightened its policy on potential applicants with a history of cannabis use.
But with all the changes that have started to trickle in, cannabis is still a Schedule I drug, and there is no federal acceptance of the medical efficacy of cannabis, and it continues to believe that cannabis belongs in the same category as heroin.
This bizarre and conflicting stance between uneducated or unwilling departments to accept the realities of medical science is disturbing, but it’s also pretty familiar for the United States.
Legislative changes, especially big ones, take time. A lot of time. Especially considering that massive federal resources have been allocated for the persecution of cannabis users for many years, it’s a tough cookie to crack.
But in a “tortoise vs the hare” kind of way, any legislation that considers the reality of marijuana as medicine points our government in the right direction.
And nearly 84 years after the Marihuana Tax Act, we’re starting to see a slow reversal on the obsessive federal stance on banning cannabis.
Arkansas to Use Federal Money for Cannabis Research
The Arkansas University of Medical Sciences and Arkansas Center for Health Improvement have partnered to study medical marijuana and its outcomes in Arkansas, sponsored by federal money from the National Institute on Drug Abuse, a part of the National Institute of Health.
Traditionally, federal money is off-limits for cannabis research unless the research is designed to implicate or discover negative properties of the plant.
While federal studies on the dangers of marijuana have run rampant (and failed to produce results), studies on the medical efficacy have been avoided by the feds.
But in the age of a more transparent medical and scientific community, researchers looking to understand medical marijuana is surfacing more in the West, and an unlikely state in the South is taking advantage of extra funding to do just that.
The program is called “Population-Based Analyses of Healthcare Utilization and Outcomes in Users of Medical Marijuana”.
The study will analyze data from cannabis purchases, insurance claims records, and ‘other data sources’, to build an information pattern on how the program is working for patients.
ACHI President & CEO, and co-principal investigator for the study Dr. Joe Thompson was quoted saying:
“This is an exciting and unique opportunity for not only our state, but also the country, to investigate the effectiveness of cannabis for therapeutic use,”
“While researchers have gathered scientific evidence on the use of cannabis for the alleviation of symptoms such as pain and anxiety, there is little evidence on how the amount, strain, potency, and method of use affect a person’s health experience.”
The study will also examine the impact of COVID-19 on the Arkansas medical marijuana program, and analyze data such as changes to cardholder requests, healthcare utilization, and adverse events.
Become an Arkansas Marijuana Patient
We’re dedicated to helping patients every step of the way, feel free to give us a call at 844-249-8714, and we can answer your questions about getting medical marijuana in Arkansas.
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If you have any questions, call us at 844-249-8714, or simply book a medical marijuana evaluation to start getting relief you can trust today!