Philadelphia Hospital To Study Medical Marijuana Patients with MS


Philadelphia is quickly becoming a focal point in the nation’s fight for marijuana reform, with most of the attention on the city directed at Philadelphia’s new district attorney, Larry Krasner, who is championing a radical reform agenda aimed at transforming criminal justice. But Philly is also home to the Lambert Center for the Study of Medicinal Cannabis and Hemp, one of the country’s leading medical cannabis research centers.

Last week, the Lambert Center made major medical cannabis news when it announced a new initiative for patients suffering from chronic diseases — and, if the initiative succeeds, it will produce the largest database of medical marijuana health outcomes to date.

Pioneering Medical Cannabis Research Center Launches Trailblazing Patient Initiative

On Thursday, Thomas Jefferson University issued a press release announcing that the university’s Lambert Center for the Study of Medicinal Cannabis and Hemp had partnered with ioVita, a digital health startup, to launch a new initiative called

The initiative is the first of its kind: its goals are to further the scientific understanding of medical cannabis by collecting information directly from patients and caregivers. To do so, it’s establishing a voluntary medical cannabis patient registry; once enrolled, patients who use medical cannabis can self-report on their health outcomes.


The Lambert center hopes to enroll at least 100,000 patients in the registry. That would make it the largest single database of patient health outcomes in the United States.

The registry will be an indispensable resource not just for patients and caregivers, but also for researchers, since longitudinal studies gather data about individuals or groups over a long period of time — and in the field of medical cannabis research, they are scarce.

“We are launching the patient registry to fill significant gaps in the science,” Steven K. Klasko, TJU president and CEO, said in a press release. “The Lambert Center’s leadership in this emerging area of medicine exemplifies Jefferson’s commitment to advance the leading edge of medicine and transform the status quo in US healthcare.”

The Lambert Center, Medical Marijuana, and MS

The Lambert Center’s registry will collect health outcome data from anyone who uses cannabis for medical reasons. Most of the data will likely come from patients who use cannabis for pain relief, which, according to Harvard University, is the most common use of medical marijuana in the U.S.


But other patient groups will also provide crucial data for researchers: those who use cannabis to treat neurological diseases like Parkinson’s, epilepsy, and multiple sclerosis (MS). For these patient communities, medical cannabis represents an area of emerging interest. Studies show 95 percent of patients with MS believe medical marijuana could be a viable course of treatment. Furthermore, a 2017 survey found that roughly 52 percent of MS patients who used medical cannabis found the drug beneficial.

Currently, however, patients suffering from chronic diseases and their caregivers have little knowledge about which forms of cannabis are the most effective for treating a particular disease or symptom. The registry would allow patients to share their experiences and spread knowledge about the best treatment options.

“Millions of patients with chronic diseases are seeking health benefits from marijuana and various cannabinoids, and many are left to experiment with cannabis products on their own,” Charles Pollack Jr., MD and director of the Lambert Center, said in the release. “These patients and their caregivers not only deserve our support, but they can help advance scientific understanding by sharing their experiences in a research registry designed with rigor and scale.”

When Patients Share Their Experiences with Medical Cannabis, Everyone Wins

By aiming to enroll 100,000 patients, the Lambert Center is setting a high bar for itself, but if it hits that mark, it will have established the largest and most comprehensive clinical database in the growing field of medical cannabis studies.

Once is live this summer, medical cannabis patients will be able to enroll and share health outcomes through the website’s online portal, and The Lambert Center is also establishing partnerships with patient and healthcare organizations nationwide, including medical cannabis dispensaries. The idea is to cast a wide net to collect as much data as possible.


“Current evidence indicates that cannabinoids can be useful in the management of certain types of chronic pain, side effects of chemotherapy, and some symptoms of MS,” Pollack added. “But there is much we still need to learn.”

Philadelphia Vying For License to Grow and Process Medical Marijuana


Pennsylvania’s relatively young medical marijuana program is continuing to grow and expand. Now, with Philadelphia vying for a license to grow and process medical marijuana, the legal cannabis industry could be on the verge of moving into the City of Brotherly Love.

Philly Wants to Grow Medical Marijuana

Pennsylvania is poised to issue another round of permits for medical marijuana growers and processors. The state of Pennsylvania issued its first round of permits last year, but Philadelphia didn’t get any of them. This time around, the state will reportedly give out 13 new licenses. And the city of Philadelphia wants in on the action.

According to local news outlet WPVI-TV, Philadelphia city leaders are pushing hard to obtain one of the forthcoming grower/processor permits.

As the state’s medical marijuana program unfolds, cities like Philadelphia have doubled their efforts to attract cannabis business. For many leaders in Philadelphia, it’s all about the economy.

“I think it is important that we raise this voice and raise this issue, as we try to combat poverty in our city,”said Philadelphia City Councilman Derek Green.


He added: “And we believe with this growing industry of medical cannabis, this is a real opportunity to provide economic development opportunities here.”

State Representative Jordan Harris took it a step further. He voiced his own particularly strong support of medical marijuana. In particular, he likes the idea of Philadelphia being able to move into the industry.

In recent comments, he praised the medical marijuana industry. He also reminded city residents and officials that the industry is expected to see rapid growth in immediate the future.

“We should be looking at not only do we want to have one in Philadelphia, we want to have all of the ancillary business that comes with it,” Rep. Harris said. “And we want to begin to train our young people on how to cultivate and how to grow and how [to] do so legally because this is the industry of the future.”


A Bid for Bud in the City of Brotherly Love

Philadelphia’s bid to obtain growing and processing permits is the latest development in Pennsylvania’s evolving cannabis laws.

The state legalized medical marijuana in 2016. In April of that year, Governor Tom Wolf signed a new bill into law making Pennsylvania the 24th state to legalize medical marijuana.

From there, it took some time for the program to become operational. In fact, Pennsylvania didn’t approve a growing facility until the fall of 2017. A few months later, in January 2018, the first medical marijuana dispensary in Pennsylvania opened for business.

Under current laws, patients can only access and use non-smokable forms of cannabis. However, a move to change that is currently underway. Beginning in March, Pennsylvania’s Medical Marijuana Advisory Board was tasked with looking into the possibility of expanding the medical marijuana program to include smokable flower.

In April, the Board voiced its support of the change. But before dispensaries can begin selling flower, the proposal must first be approved by other lawmakers and agencies.

Applications for the phase two licensing round must be postmarked by May 17th. Find more information about Pennsylvania’s medical marijuana program on the state website.

This Canadian Cannabis Company Just Joined Forces With Big Pharma


The deal was announced today by Tilray Inc: the cannabis company just joined forces with Big Pharma. Tilray is a licensed manufacturer of medical marijuana products. The Toronto-based firm has production operations in British Columbia. The company just signed an exclusive agreement with Sandoz Canada of Quebec. Sandoz is a subsidiary of Sandoz International, part of the Novartis healthcare conglomerate.

A Tilray executive says this is the first time a cannabis company has entered into a deal with Big Pharma in Canada.

Under the new deal, Tilray will be the sole partner to create non-combustible medical cannabis products with Sandoz. Together, the two companies will make co-branded capsules, topicals, sprays and similar medicines.

Brendan Kennedy is the president and CEO of Tilray. He told reporters that his firm had considered a deal with several other pharma companies before settling on Sandoz.


“A lot of pharmaceutical companies are paying attention to what’s happening in this industry, and over the past few years, we’ve had conversations with a few of them… This is a huge milestone for us,” Kennedy told reporters.

Deal Puts A Familiar Name On New Products

Kennedy says that for many patients, there is still a stigma attached to cannabis. Therefore, they may be reluctant to try medical marijuana products.

The alliance with Sandoz puts a recognizable name on medicines newly on the market. Consequently, patients, doctors and drug stores are more likely to accept them.

“That was part of the opportunity we saw… To distribute Tilray products that have the Sandoz logo that pharmacists, physicians, and patients are used to seeing in their pharmaceutical packages. I think that will give physicians confidence and trust in our brand and our product,” he said in an interview.

Cannabis Gaining Acceptance In Canada

Canada legalized medical marijuana in 2001. Since then, it has gained in popularity, especially recently. In April 2017 the country’s health department Health Canada reported nearly 175,000 registered medical marijuana patients nationwide. That number soared 35 percent to more than 235,000 in just seven months.

As more patients accept medical marijuana, the healthcare industry has taken notice. The number of doctors who have written medicinal cannabis recommendations has risen, as well. Not totally surprising since we now know the benefits of THC and CBD.


Some pharmacy chains, such as Shoppers Drug Mart and PharmaChoice have signed contracts and begun to set up supply chain infrastructure to provide medical marijuana products.

Even insurance companies are getting in the game. Sun Life Financial responded to client requests and added medical marijuana coverage as an option for its group health plans earlier this year.

And some plan sponsors, such as Loblaw Companies Ltd. and the Ontario Public Service Employees Union, already include coverage for medical marijuana.

Canada is scheduled to legalize recreational pot later this year.

Final Hit: This Canadian Cannabis Company Just Joined Forces With Big Pharma

Tilray has a three-step plan to implement its deal with Sandoz.

First, the company will focus on product development to create new medical marijuana therapies. The company then plans to take advantage of its sales and distribution infrastructure to educate pharmacists about the new products.

Finally, the firm will distribute Tilray Sandoz medicines to Canadian pharmacies nationwide. Will the world finally see moonrocks in orange ‘scrip bottles? The possibilities are limitless.

Philadelphia District Attorney Sues Big Pharma For Opioid Crisis

Larry Krasner has been in office as Philadelphia District Attorney for a little over a month. He has initiated some important changes in that short time. His most recent moves are aimed at fixing some longstanding drug-related issues. Most importantly, he is suing several pharmaceutical companies for their role in the opioid crisis. As the Philadelphia District Attorney sues Big Pharma, momentum could be building to combat the epidemic.

Larry Krasner Is Suing Big Pharma

Krasner announced his decision to sue Big Pharma yesterday in a press release. In it, he said that he filed a lawsuit against 10 pharmaceutical companies on February 2. More specifically, those companies are:

  • Purdue Pharma, L.P.
  • Purdue Pharma, Inc.
  • The Purdue Frederick Company, Inc.
  • Allergan Finance, LLC
  • Cephalon, Inc.
  • Teva Pharmaceuticals USA, Inc.
  • Endo Helath Solutions, Inc.
  • Endo Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
  • Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
  • Johnson & Johnson

Krasner cited the Consumer Protection Law in his suit. That law allows either the Pennsylvania Attorney General or a Pennsylvania County District Attorney to sue companies on behalf of the state.

In particular, Krasner is suing to recoup some of the costs the City of Philadelphia has incurred dealing with opioid addictions and deaths. Additionally, the lawsuit claims that the companies being sued have been deceitful about the dangers of their products.

“The City of Philadelphia has been hurt, more than any other city in the nation, by the scourge of opioids,” Krasner said in the press release.


“The time to act is now, which is why I’ve taken this unprecedented action, in parallel with the City of Philadelphia’s suit, to stop these companies from systematically distracting the public from knowing the true dangers of opioid use as they reap billions of dollars in profits.”

Krasner’s lawsuit isn’t actually the first time someone has sued pharmaceutical companies that make opioids. In fact, there are 16 other lawsuits throughout Pennsylvania. However, Krasner’s suit is unique because it’s the only one filed under the Consumer Protection Law.

Krasner and Marijuana

At the same time that he’s going after Big Pharma, Krasner is also tackling cannabis. He just reformed Philadelphia’s weed policies.

More specifically, Krasner made it so that people caught with weed in Philadelphia will not ever see a court case. The change is a minor one. But it could still have a big impact.

Already, cannabis enforcement is fairly loose in Philadelphia. Krasner said that around 90 percent of the time cops find someone with weed they just write a simple citation. But there’s still that 10 percent when that doesn’t happen.


“What we’re talking about is the 10 percent or so that are being charged as they used to be, as misdemeanors in court,” Krasner said. “From now on, the DA will advise his staff not to pursue criminal charges against anyone arrested for marijuana possession in the city.”


Citations for possession will be anywhere from $25 to $100.

Final Hit: Philadelphia District Attorney Sues Big Pharma

Clearly, Krasner is diving into his new role as Philly’s DA. And he’s already making headlines for his aggressive attempts to fix pressing drug-related issues.

By targeting Big Pharma and relaxing weed laws, Krasner is in direct opposition to more conservative, anti-cannabis politicians. Most notably, people like U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

Earlier this month, Sessions attempted to blame the opioid crisis on cannabis. Unfortunately for him, research does not support his claims.

In fact, researchers have found that cannabis can help combat the opioid epidemic. More specifically, cannabis can be a safer alternative for treating pain. Additionally, it can help people already addicted to opioids gradually scale back their dependence.