Florida Consortium for Medical Marijuana Clinical Outcomes Research: A Beneficial Program

By Dr. Jeff G. Konin

As Florida’s marijuana landscape changes rapidly, it’s a good time to end a program that only started in 2019. The Consortium is focused on driving, sharing and supporting of research on the effects of medical marijuana on health conditions and symptoms. Research on the clinical outcomes of medical marijuana is carried out through 5 identified pillars:

  1. Grant program
  2. MEDICAL Marijuana Clinical Outcomes Repository (MEMORY)
  3. Clinical research core
  4. Scientific Expert Group
  5. Awareness program

The Consortium is hosted at the University of Florida and is made up of 9 member universities:

*Florida Atlantic University

* Florida A&M University

* Florida Gulf Coast University

* Florida International University

* Florida Memorial University

* Florida State University

*University of Central Florida

*University of Florida

*University of Miami

The need for research in this area driven by our flagship institutions is supported by the more than 650,000 Floridians now holding medical marijuana cards. Since its inception, the Consortium Grants Program has awarded 30 researchers from 7 of the 9 member institutions a total of more than $2 million. Recently awarded projects investigated the acceptance of medical marijuana and CBD as a form of palliative care, characterizing adverse events related to cannabis use, cannabis and its role in acute and chronic pain, inflammation, neuropathies and fibrosis, to name a few. Specific conditions studied included Crohn’s disease, diabetes, anxiety, anorexia nervosa and headaches.

The Consortium provides resources for patients, practitioners, researchers and industry. This includes a quarterly newsletter and an annual report that share many nuggets of information for all stakeholders. As noted in the “Winter 2021 Medicament” newsletter published by the Consortium, “a lack of assessments of cannabis use contributes to under-documentation of cannabis use, unprepared clinicians, data poor quality health record and limited research on a wide range of topics related to cannabis health outcomes.

On May 19-20, 2022, the Cannabis Clinical Outcomes Research Conference will be held in Orlando and will provide a valuable opportunity to exchange ideas, findings, and potential for future collaborative work. This year’s keynote speakers will include Dr. Staci Gruber of McLean Hospital in Massachusetts who directs the Marijuana Investigations for Neuroscience Discovery (MIND) program, Dr. Samer Narouze who is president of the American Society of Regional Anesthesia and Pain Medicine who is a professor in the College of Medicine at Ohio State University and Dr. Kent Hutchison, professor of psychiatry at the University of Colorado at Boulder.

There are many other Consortium-sponsored programs that have quickly grown into reputable statewide offerings. To learn more about these programs, you can visit https://mmjoutcomes.org/

Dr. Jeff G. Konin is a Clinical Professor in the Department of Athletic Training at the Nicole Wertheim College of Nursing and Health Sciences at Florida International University (FIU) where he directs the Global Initiative for Cannabinoid Research and Education. To learn more about CRF’s cannabinoid research and education initiative, you can visit their website at https://go.fiu.edu/GlobalCannabis. The opinions represented in this column do not reflect those of Florida International University and are attributed solely to Dr. Jeff G. Konin.

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