#1 UBC creates professorship for medical marijuana studies, will advance needed clinical trials for opioid use disorder
Dr. M-J Milloy, a recognized leader in the field of epidemiology has been appointed as the first Canopy Growth professor of cannabis science at the University of British Columbia (UBC).
The position is jointly funded by the B.C. provincial government who contributed $500,000 and Canopy Growth who gave $2.5 million.
British Columbia Minister of Mental Health and Addictions, Judy Darcy, was quoted as saying, “We need all hands-on-deck to save lives and help people find the treatment and recovery services that will work for them long term. Our government has been bold and innovative in providing treatment options – based on evidence – for people living with addiction. This first-of-its-kind professorship will lead research and clinical trials on how cannabis products can be used to address the overdose crisis that is taking three to four lives a day.”
With the proliferation of medical marijuana at the state-level in the US (it still remains unapproved at the federal level), it is critical to have proper clinical trials to establish the safety and efficacy for the range of indications it is currently being used for including as an alternative to opioids.
The University of British Columbia is now poised to be able to make a significant contribution to conducting these much needed formal clinical studies.
#2 Study finds medical marijuana gave significant improvement when added to opioid treatment for fibromyalgia patients
Keeping medical marijuana in the recent news is a published study in which researchers assessed the analgesic effects of adding it to opioids in the treatment of 31 fibromyalgia patients with lower back pain. Patient reported outcomes using FIQR, VAS, ODI and SF-12 and lumbar range of motion was recorded using the modified Schober test.
While standardized analgesic treatments with opioids led to minor improvement as compared with the baseline status of patients, the addition of medical marijuana made a significantly higher improvement in all patient reported outcomes at 3 months after adding medical marijuana and the improvement was maintained at 6 months. Patients’ range of motion improved after 3 months of receiving medical marijuana and continued to improve at 6 months. Further studies are called for to expand on this research.
#3 WVU researchers first to test non-opioid non-steroidal treatment for common back pain
The Rockefeller Neuroscience Institute at West Virginia University recently announced that they enrolled the first patient in a randomized clinical trial to test the effectiveness of an injectable non-opioid, non-steroid micropellet to treat sciatica.
The phase III clinical trial utilizes a clonidine micropellet manufactured by Sollis Therapeutics based in Ohio. The micropellet which is half the size of a grain of rice, is placed in a patient’s lower back to combat sciatica pain for up to one year.
Sciatica is a condition that affects more than five million Americans.
“Having the opportunity to investigate new non-opioid treatments for sciatica and a range of pain conditions is directly aligned with the WVU Medicine Center for Integrative Pain Management’s mission to combat the opioid crisis in West Virginia and nationwide,” said Richard Vaglienti, M.D., principal investigator on the trial and Director of the university’s Center for Integrative Pain Management.
#4 Opioid industry takes New York state to court
New York state’s health department sent bills last week to 75 companies under the new Opioid Stewardship Act through which the state seeks $600 million over six years from manufacturers and distributors to cover the costs of the opioid crisis.
However, the companies are fighting back and saying that the law is unconstitutional and have filed three legal challenges.