LITTLE ROCK (KATV) — Researchers at the Arkansas Center for Health Improvement and the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences were awarded a $1.3 million research grant to study medicinal marijuana use in the state.
The study is expected to focus on the effects of medical marijuana.
"There are forums out there that suggest, gee if you use medical marijuana it's helpful for pain, inflammation, or whatever," Teresa Hudson, Director of Division of Health Services Research at UAMS, said.
She said normally, before a compound is available to the public, it is tested, gets FDA approval and has recommendations for the strength to give, how often to give it and who should and shouldn't receive it. She said the odd thing is that medical marijuana is not.
So UAMS and researchers at the Arkansas Center for Health are conducting their own study.
"What we're going to do is take all of the people in Arkansas that have had medical claims and we are going to identify the ones that have a condition that Arkansas says 'if you have one of these conditions you may obtain a medical marijuana card'" Hudsaon said. "So first we will identify those people. Then we are going to identify all of the people who had one of those conditions and got a medical marijuana card. From there we'll identify all off the people who had a condition, got a card, and made at least one purchase."
The study will also look into if COVID has played a major role in medical marijuana claims.
"We were curious about that very thing. So the third aim of our project is to go back and look at rates of sales, rates of new cards, and see if the sales went up, if the quantity people purchased went up. So we are going to examine the impact COVID may have had on medicinal marijuana," Hudson said.
From this study, medical professionals hope to understand how the use of medical marijuana affects the use of healthcare, visits to the emergency department, and motor vehicle crashes,
Participants are not needed for this study. Researchers are using data already collected by the state.
This study will take about 3 years to complete.