Jun 12, 2016 9:15 AM

Jefferson University Launches Medical Cannabis Center

The Institute of Emerging Health Professions at Thomas Jefferson University launched a unique research institution—the Center for Medical Cannabis Education & Research (CMCER). The new establishment is the first of its kind. The center's primary focus is research and education that are related to medical cannabis.

According to the Jefferson University's website, CMCER was launched as an attempt to provide a substantial research of medical cannabis and use a more scientific approach to determine the appropriateness of its use due to cannabis acquiring a snake oil reputation lately.

The creation of this center in the Institute of Emerging Health Professions was supported by the Jefferson University as everybody understood the importance of this venture. Nobody can deny that the center is an establishment that will work on a current hot topic. The creation of this institution is a great possibility for the industry.


One of the primary goals of the CMCER is to educate enough physicians and pharmacists who will be able to receive a certificate and work at cannabis dispensaries. The center also wants to be very explicit about the research and its work in general. As of now, the steering committee is working on the specifics of their activities including business and social equity issues. The “entrepreneurial thinking” plays a great role in the center's future layout.

In addition to the immediate goals, this new research center is set on several long-term objectives. In his interview earlier this month, the director of CMCER, Dr. Charlie Pollack, stated that the center is determined to be able to fund the studies it is interested in. In the future, according to Pollack, the center wants to be able to request a specific study and offer a competitive grant for the task. Thus, the university will give thousands of dollars to a competitor of their choosing and wait for the results. This way, the center will be an active contributor to the advancement of science and show its support of research.

The CMCER also may be in a position to help create and support a registry of cannabis patients and providers, much as it is done in Quebec.

Steering Committee of CMCER

As a new institution, the CMCER largely depends on the members of the steering committee.

The members of the steering committee represent an unprecedented mix of very diverse voices that can help the CMCER to find future funding. The steering committee consists of such experts in the field as Dr. Igor Grant, who is a director of another unique research center in San Diego, and Dr. Mahmoud ElSohly, who oversees the only federally legal cannabis farm in the U.S. the head of a large cannabis farm in the country. Another member is Dr. Sue Sisley, a well-known advocate for medical cannabis research with years of experience in the sphere. Besides, Sisley now works on a study on medical cannabis and PTSD.

While the center received some funding from the Jefferson University, the additional money from the medical cannabis industry is always a welcome thing. This way of support can show that the center is truly committed to the medical cannabis industry and make the institution self-sufficient.

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