Spine researcher awarded state grant for marijuana studyunknown Feb 24, 2015
Emily Lindley, PhD, is now part of the largest-ever state research program on medical marijuana—and the first that compares the benefits of medical marijuana to a commonly used opioid for chronic pain.
In November, officials with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment chose her study as one of eight to recommend for state funding. The studies will be paid for by a surplus of medical marijuana patient fees totaling more than $7.5 million. Dr. Lindley's randomized controlled trial on vaporized cannabis versus oxycodone for chronic back pain will receive $743,122.
Many of the studies focus on post-traumatic stress and epilepsy, but Dr. Lindley’s research is noted for its direct comparison of marijuana to a common pain medication. Dr. Lindley and colleagues had previously found that around 20% of patients at the Spine Center reported using medical marijuana for their pain. With few clinical trials investigating the use of cannabinoids for pain control, they saw a need for direct scientific evidence for the clinical efficacy of medical marijuana in this large patient population. The results of this clinical trial will allow physicians to make evidence-based recommendations to their patients on the use of cannabis for chronic back pain.
Research for the three-year study is set to begin in 2015.