PHILADELPHIA- A total of eight medical schools have been approved to participate in cannabis research in Pennsylvania. Five of those schools are located in Philadelphia.
Governor Tom Wolf has certified the medical schools as Academic Clinical Research Centers (ACRC). With an ACRC status, schools can work directly with cannabis companies to implement research programs and analyze data collected by dispensaries.
The schools will not be handling cannabis or touching the plant itself. Schools could lose federal funding if they directly handle cannabis as the drug is still a Schedule I narcotic.
Below are the eight schools approved by the Wolf administration.
Several of the schools have already announced which companies they will be partnering with. Temple will be working with Laurel Harvest Labs while Drexel will partner with Acreage Holdings, a company operating cannabis businesses in multiple states. Thomas Jefferson University will join Solterra Care LLC and Penn State has selected PalliaTech.
Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine (PCOM) has decided to work with Cansortium medical marijuana dispensaries.
“We were approached by at least eight national companies, and we’re still getting phone calls,” said Mindy George-Weinstein, a professor who is also PCOM’s chief research and science officer, according to Philly.com. “We interviewed five, and I have to say they were all quite good and committed to the research mission. But there was a certain je ne sais quoi about Cansortium that instilled confidence and convinced us they would be the best partner.”
Pennsylvania could soon be leading the nation in research on cannabis. Currently, only one university, the University of Mississippi has permission from the federal government to research the drug. Although patients have been reporting encouraging therapeutic results from using cannabis for decades, formal research is lacking.