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UHN to conduct first-ever evidence study on medical cannabis

July 13, 2020  By Grow Opportunity staff

Dr. Hance Clarke is the lead researcher of a first-of-its-kind Medical Cannabis Real-World Evidence Study. (Credit: UHN)

Dr. Hance Clarke is putting medical cannabis to the test in a first-of-its-kind real world evidence study.

The University Health Network (UHN) is conducting an observational study to explore the therapeutic effects of medical cannabis for chronic pain, sleep or anxiety in adults. In an industry where standardization is still in its infancy, Dr. Clarke says the study aims to apply the same rigour around medical cannabis that is demanded of any pharmaceutical product.

“We need the evidence to help us in prescribing the appropriate validated product, at the right dose, for the right patient,” says Dr. Clarke, the lead researcher of this study. “Ensuring quality standards will allow physicians and their patients to be confident about using medical cannabis to treat a wide range of pain-related ailments.”

Dr. Clarke is the director of Pain Services and medical director of the Pain Research Unity at the Toronto General Hospital. He also serves as director of GoodHope Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome Clinic at UHN.


Dr. Clarke has been a recognized leader in educating Canadians about chronic pain management and risk factors of continued opioid use. Through this study, he hopes to develop a national repository of data that could provide more answers about the effectiveness of certain cannabis products.

The study is looking to leverage blockchain secure technology through the Medical Cannabis by Shoppers online portal. Patients in the clinical trial will have access to a wide range of products, including dried flower, oil extracts, edibles and topical preparations.

“Medical Cannabis by Shoppers is best placed to offer Canadians the reassurance of medical products that have been tested and validated,” says Ken Weisbrod, vice-president of Business Development/Cannabis Strategy at Shoppers Drug Mart.

“Our development of a blockchain secured initiative, with TruTrace Technologies Inc., has now been integrated into an operational portal that will provide products with an immutable digital identity, that can capture everything from detailed chemistry down to its DNA.”

The Valens Company is one of the cannabis producers contributing products to the study. In its own press release about the study, Valens spotlights its premium cannabis oil, Nūance, exclusive to the Medical Cannabis by Shoppers platform.

As part of the study, the Nūance line of THC and CBD oils will be tested, with the verified results on each batch for each physician and patient. Patients will be able to identify the contents of their product through the platform, including potency levels of THC and CBD, to ensure batch-to-batch consistency and quality.

“To be able to participate in this real-world study and have the opportunity to understand how our products could be used as a treatment is an exciting step in the right direction for us,” said Valens CEO Tyler Robson. “With insights and data from this study, we look forward to further advancing our commitment to developing and testing the highest-quality and most reliable products for patients using cannabis for both medical purposes as well as recreational consumers.”

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