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Pilot study to examine medical marijuana treatment options for seniors


October 3, 2018
By Tamar Atik


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Canopy Growth Corporation’s Spectrum Cannabis branch is partnering with the Ontario Long Term Care Association (OLTCA) to develop and implement a pilot study aimed at using medical marijuana to treat pain and cognitive function in seniors.

The Smiths Falls, Ont.-based medical marijuana company made the announcement on Wednesday, adding that the goal is to implement successful results in Ontario’s long-term care homes.

The six-month study will determine whether medical marijuana could potentially displace other, less-desirable treatments and therapies.

Spectrum Cannabis says this will be one of the world’s first and largest medical cannabis pilot programs in the long-term care space and will register as many as 500 residents and follow them over the course of the study at some of Ontario’s 630 long-term care homes.

“There is clearly an interest in the long-term care space to explore medical cannabis as an alternative to traditional medications for pain and degenerative cognitive function,” said Mark Zekulin, president and co-chief executive officer of Canopy Growth. “The pilot study… is the first step in developing an evidence-based, best practice approach to medical cannabis that will result in consistent care for thousands of seniors and ultimately improve quality of life and outcomes in long-term care homes.”

According to a release, the project will utilize a quality-improvement framework similar to that developed for the OMNI Diabetes Protocol. This same approach has been used to develop care pathways for COPD, influenza, stroke prevention and spasticity, the release states.

“Medical cannabis is currently prescribed for residents as appropriate, but it’s still an emerging area,” says Candace Chartier, chief executive officer of the OLTCA. “Through this partnership and pilot study, we hope to provide more clarity to long-term care clinicians and frontline staff about the use of medical cannabis for residents.”