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420 with CNW — Spotlight PA Legal Victory Opens Door to Cannabis Research

Cannabis News Wire, Media Partners

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Following a protracted 15-month court battle in 2022, Pennsylvania’s independent newspaper “Spotlight PA,” which specializes in investigative reporting, was able to obtain information about the requirements for the statewide medical cannabis program. The arduous triumph in 2022 opened the door for an extensive inquiry based on those obtained documents, which were released last year.

According to the state’s Department of Health spokesperson, the data has now been shared with other users, including academic researchers throughout the state. The data has also assisted in improving understanding of the state’s medical cannabis program.

Scientists affiliated with Geisinger Healthcare System, including Brian Piper, an assistant professor specializing in neurology at the Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine, have been among the beneficiaries of the data. Piper noted how unusual it is for governments to be so open about giving this data, and he described it as a great chance for his research.

Piper and associates leveraged this data to perform a study that examined the relationship between dispensary physical locations vs. the number of adult users with medical cannabis certifications in particular areas. This study also investigated the relationship between dispensary physical locations vs. the proportion of certificates granted for medical problems for which there is insufficient data to conclusively refute or support the efficacy of medical cannabis as a therapeutic substance.

These researchers described their research as the first scientific study within the United States investigating the relationship between qualifying conditions and dispensary locations.

Leading author Annemarie Hirsch, director of the Center for Community Environment & Health and associate professor at Geisinger’s Department of Population Health Sciences, described the research as an attempt to generate hypotheses that might lead to further scientific inquiry.

The study results were presented in the form of a preprint write-up last August, but as of January, the results hadn’t yet gone through the requisite peer-review procedure prior to publication in a scholarly journal. According to Piper, the preprint is a way to quickly share research results with the larger community so that the information might be of use.

In addition, during a review of the literature on anxiety and cannabis last year, the Medical Cannabis Research Center at Drexel University referenced “Spotlight PA”’s data analysis. The review discovered that anxiety issues are the main reason individuals are qualifying for this program.

“Spotlight PA” made the anonymized data on qualifying conditions accessible for public examination online in December to increase openness. The distributed anonymized data respects ethical norms by protecting the anonymity of specific patients and physicians.

As more studies of this nature are conducted, it could lead major marijuana businesses such as Verano Holdings Corp. (CSE: VRNO) (OTCQX: VRNOF) to come up with specially formulated medical marijuana products targeting specific segments of patients in different state-legal markets.

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