That might be a bit of a sensationalist headline, but it’s for a good cause — science.
Researchers at San Francisco General Hospital are in serious need of study subjects for a landmark trial of whole plant medical cannabis for treating the pain of sickle cell disease.
As detailed in past coverage
, UCSF oncologist Dr. Donald Abrams has done the near-impossible
— convinced the federal government to let him give patients pot in a hospital.
Drug Policy Alliance
Vaporized cannabis is thought to reduce the pain, inflammation, and progression of sickle cell disease.
For this new study, Abrams and his research team are investigating the efficacy of using vaporized cannabis to treat the pain of sickle cell disease.
Sickle cell disease is a painful condition caused by sickle-shaped red blood cells. The disease particularly affects African Americans who carry a gene mutation that confers limited protection against malaria infection, at the cost of a shortened and more painful lifespan.
Researchers think cannabis’ efficacy on sickle cell pain and inflammation might be part of the reason pot is so popular in Jamaica. Cell and animal studies support these first human trials.
To be eligible, applicants for the study must:
- have a diagnosis of sickle cell disease
- be taking a stable regimen of pain medications, including an opioid (such as morphine, oxycodone, hydromorphone, etc.) for chronic sickle cell disease-associated pain
- Be able and willing to spend two separate periods of five days and four nights in the Clinical Research Center at SFGH.
- Have smoked cannabis on at least 6 occasions in your lifetime
- NOT use cannabis for one week prior to starting the study.
- Agree to use adequate birth control during this study.
- NOT be pregnant or breast-feeding, if you are a women who can become pregnant. You will be tested for pregnancy at screening.
- Be able to read and speak English.
- NOT have any severe heart, lung, kidney, or liver problems.
- NOT currently be using smoked tobacco products.
- NOT test positive for alcohol or injection drugs, as determined by urine screening.
If eligible, you will spend two, five-day periods in a clinical research center at SF General, have blood tests and other measurements done, inhale cannabis three times a day (using the VOLCANO™ vaporizer), and keep a pain diary for five days prior to both hospitalizations to track your pain and medication use.
Dr. Sanjay Gupta featured this research in his recent documentary Weed 3
, in which he called for a medical cannabis revolution in the US.
For more information on study enrollment, call 415-476-4082 x 146.