INSA cannabis dispensaries in Easthampton and Springfield to participate in patient research
By Mary C. Serreze
Special to The Republican
EASTHAMPTON -- While medical marijuana is now legal in 29 states, there's not much statistical data on the patient experience, according to a local cannabis CEO.
"The lack of organized research serves as a roadblock on our way to fully understanding the plant and its effects," said Mark Zatryka, CEO of INSA, which operates medical marijuana dispensaries in Easthampton and Springfield.
Zatyrka said with better data on how cannabis is used medicinally, dispensaries can develop best practices and offer standardized information to patients.
To support that effort, INSA is now partnering with the Cannabis Community Care and Research Network, known as C3RN, which has launched a longitudinal, anonymous survey of medical marijuana patients.
"We are all craving more data, which is why we are behind this research effort 100 percent," said Zatyrka.
The study by C3RN will look at who actually uses medical marijuana, in what form, how often, to treat what ailments, the experience of side effects, and how well the cannabis relieved symptoms.
Patient participation is completely voluntary, and names will be kept anonymous, said Zatyrka. Those who participate will be offered product discounts, and be invited to attend a C3RN event in Boston.
In a statement, Marion McNabb, co-founder of C3RN, said the information will be used to develop evidence-based community education resources.
"Through this pilot study, C3RN, its partners, and the community hope to learn and develop accessible patient resources that drive change, reduce stigma, and raise the bar of quality in the industry," McNabb said.
Some work has already been done. In 2017, the National Academies of
Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine published a study of existing evidence regarding the health effects of cannabis, and issued recommendations for more research.
INSA plans a "patient appreciation day" on Sept. 5 when C3RN representatives will be in attendance, said Zatryka.
The Cannabis Community Care and Research Network is an organization "with the goal of advancing the science and implementation of best practices to the industry in order to advance cannabis as a medicine," according to its website.