Cannabis Research Program

Recent research into active components of cannabis provides a spectrum of understanding beyond the traditional Indica/sativa dichotomy. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is only one component of this medicine, along with cannabinoid molecules such as cannabidiol (CBD), cannabinol (CBN), and many others. The effects and interactions of these components, combined with the individual metabolism of the patient and the means of ingestion, provide a ripe field for scientific research. Still River Wellness. Is well positioned to play a significant role in this still-unfolding research about these interactions and their implications for the use of cannabis in medical/therapeutic treatments.

Still River Wellness is interesting in collaborating with community healthcare providers and organizations to help study and better understand medical marijuana use for specific patient ailments and what correlations may exist between other medication, and specifically opioid utilization. The complete study and methods are outlined in Section F: Bonus Points of this plan.

Still River Wellness has partnered with Sharon Joslin of Yale’s Clinical Research Department and Katie Clark, Lead Consultant of Clark Health Education and Research Solutions. Sharon Joslin plans to study the use and problems associated with medical and non-medical marijuana and concomitant use of opioids and harm reduction strategy research and publish for the scientific community.

C-3 Ventures, LLC d/b/a Still River Wellness is demonstrating commitment to scientific research by convening a Research Advisory Council. This group will initially be led by Sharon Joslin, APRN from the Yale School of Medicine AIDS Program (see letter of intent attaches as Appendix F.3.1) and Katie Clark, MSPH a research implementation and substance use consultant from CHER Solutions, LLC. Sharon and Katie will seek to convene a multidisciplinary group of medical practitioners, research experts, pharmacists, statisticians, patient advocates, and other key stakeholders to guide research activities at Still River Wellness. The Research Advisory Council will oversee pilot studies at Still River Wellness and share methods, findings, and research protocols with the Department of Consumer Protections and other dispensaries that are interested in contributing to the literature related to medicinal marijuana and increase our understanding of the holistic impact of medicinal marijuana in Connecticut.

The first research study conducted at Still River Wellness will be focused on the relationship between the use of medicinal marijuana, use of opioid prescription medications, and risk of Opioid Use Disorder. There appears to be gap in the literature focusing on patient-level data regarding how use of medicinal marijuana influences use of other prescription medications (Douglas et al., 2018). In a national study, findings suggested female medicinal marijuana users had a lower odds ratio of Opioid Use Disorder compared to those using marijuana recreationally (Park & Wu, 2017).

This project would utilize both patient self-administered surveys and qualitative interviews. We aim to recruit 100 participants to complete surveys and 25 participants for qualitative interviews. Additional data will be obtained from Still River Wellness’s dispensary database (frequency of visits, amount dispensed) and CT’s Prescription Monitoring Program. This mixed methods approach to understanding medicinal marijuana and opioids is currently being used in a clinical trial being conducted by the Albert Einstein School of Medicine (Cunningham & DiFrancesca, 2018). Study participants will be recruited from the Still River Wellness patient population. Patients will be recruited on an ongoing basis where they will be stratified monthly, then patients will be randomly selected to participate in the research until 50 slots are filled for that month. This process will repeat for the five-month recruitment period. Survey results will be reviewed to assess potential participants for the qualitative interviews. The study would last 6- 12 months. During this time, all 100 participants will complete monthly surveys and participants who are recruited into the qualitative arm of the study will complete two interviews.

When offering participation into the Research Program, Still River Wellness will require a Patient Consent Form to be completed and will adhere to all HIPAA standards.

Study findings will be disseminated among local and state-level stakeholders by means of written report and presentations at local, state-level, and national meetings and conferences. The Research Advisory Council will identify members to submit research findings to peer reviewed journals and other scholarly dissemination venues.