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The National Cannabis Study By John Hopkins Aims to Fill Data Gaps in Medical Cannabis




Medical cannabis has gained legal status in a majority of states and is widely utilized for treating various health conditions, including depression, pain, anxiety, and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. However, despite its widespread use, there is a significant lack of comprehensive data on the efficacy of cannabis as a therapeutic option. To address this information gap, a groundbreaking National Cannabis Study is set to commence, tracking the responses of approximately 10,000 patients to cannabis treatment. This initiative, forming part of the larger Cannabis and Health Research Initiative, aims to generate valuable insights by combining data from observational studies, electronic medical records, and a cohort of medicinal cannabis users.

The Research Initiative

The team behind the initiative, led by Ryan Vandrey, a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, seeks to unravel the health impacts of therapeutic cannabis use. Vandrey emphasizes the scarcity of high-quality data available for cannabis compared to other medicines and underscores the mission of the research to provide a foundation for understanding the effectiveness and potential risks associated with different cannabis products in various populations and for different therapeutic purposes.

Collaborating with experts such as Johannes Thrul, an associate professor of mental health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and receiving substantial support from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) in the form of a five-year, $10 million grant, the research initiative is well-positioned to make significant strides in understanding the nuances of medical cannabis use.

The study aims to collect data from a diverse group of around 10,000 patients, tracking their journey from cannabis naivety to a year or more of medical cannabis use. Multiple assessments will be conducted, with a focus on the initial stages of cannabis use when patients are likely to experiment with different products to find those most effective for their symptoms. The database will encompass crucial variables, including the chemical composition of cannabis products, delivery methods (smoking vs. edibles), interactions with other medications, and dosage details.

Potential Impact

Beyond aiding clinical decision-making, the registry established through this study could play a pivotal role in shaping policies and regulatory structures for medical cannabis use. Additionally, the wealth of data gathered may prove invaluable for designing clinical trials and advancing basic science research in the field. Ryan Vandrey stresses the vast diversity within the umbrella term “cannabis” and expresses the initiative's commitment to narrowing the focus, identifying promising areas, and directing scientific efforts toward those areas with the greatest potential for positive impact.


The National Cannabis Study, supported by the Cannabis and Health Research Initiative and funded by NIDA, represents a significant step forward in addressing the dearth of quality data on the therapeutic use of cannabis. As the research progresses, it holds the promise of not only enhancing our understanding of the health impacts of medical cannabis but also contributing to the development of evidence-based practices, regulatory guidelines, and further scientific exploration in this rapidly evolving field.

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Sebastian is a passionate advocate of CBD's therapeutic potential, dedicating himself to exploring its diverse benefits. As a seasoned writer, he eloquently shares his insights and personal experiences with CBD, aiming to educate readers about its transformative power. His life's mission is promoting holistic wellness, with CBD at the heart of his advocacy.

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