Patients Sought for Scientific Marijuana Study

Karen O’Keefe, Marijuana Policy Project (MPP) assistant director of state policies:

There is good reason to believe that marijuana can boost the efficacy of opioid pain drugs, allowing pain patients to get better relief with smaller doses of narcotic medications. University of California, San Francisco researcher Dr. Donald Abrams is looking for participants to take part in an important pilot study that could lay the groundwork for critical research in this area.

Dr. Abrams is conducting a trial of vaporized medical marijuana in conjunction with opioid medications in chronic pain patients. This is an opportunity for patients to try controlled doses of medical marijuana completely legally — under both state and federal law — for five days and for researchers to collect important data about the safety of medical marijuana.

The study will assess the clinical safety of using marijuana with opioids by monitoring the short-term side effects associated with combined therapy.

Participants in the study must:

  • Have ongoing chronic pain
  • Be 18 or older
  • Be on a stable twice-daily dose of sustained-release oxycodone or morphine medication for at least two weeks before enrollment
  • Not use marijuana for a month prior to entering the study
  • Not be a cigarette and/or cigar smoker, or be willing not to smoke for two weeks before starting the study
  • Meet some additional criteria

Participating patients will:

  • Spend five days and nights in a clinical research center at San Francisco General Hospital
  • Attend a screening appointment before the study begins
  • Have blood tests and other measurements done
  • Inhale vaporized medicinal marijuana three times a day

You can receive $520 for participating. For more information, call (415) 476-9554, ext. 315, or e-mail pcouey@php.ucsf.edu . The Community Consortium Positive Health Program of the UCSF Medical Service at San Francisco General Hospital is conducting the study.

Thank you for supporting the Marijuana Policy Project. Please pass this on to any chronic pain patients who might be interested in participating in the study.

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