Jefferson University Forms Medical Marijuana Research Center

The school says it's the "first center of its kind."

Thomas Jefferson University in Center City has created a medical marijuana education and research center, which the school called the “first center of its kind.”

The Center for Medical Cannabis Education & Research, part of the Institute for Emerging Health Professions, will provide guidance to clinicians and patients about cannabinoid focused-therapies.

Dr. Charles V. Pollack Jr. will lead the center, which will operate out of existing facilities at Jefferson. He said in a statement that its mission is to pool the research on medical marijuana, which he believes is the subject of far too much “hype and advocacy” and not enough scientific analysis, in an effort to educate. The CMCER also hopes to provide patients and their caregivers with new approaches to illness management and pain relief.

The announcement comes just a month after Gov. Tom Wolf signed a bill into law that made Pennsylvania the 24th state in the nation to legalize medical marijuana (though Wolf recently said in an interview that he doesn’t expect the law to be in full effect until 2018).

Pollack stressed that many people have misconceptions of medical marijuana, and that “exposure to under-tested and unvalidated treatments should be limited and carefully managed and monitored” while a stronger evidence base — one the center aims to develop — is expanded upon.

The CMCER will offer courses to medical specialists who wish to become legally certified to recommend cannabis to patients as well. The center will be funded through donations from groups interested in the clinical, scientific, social and business issues tied to medical marijuana.

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