Penn State Hershey will take part in 10-year medical marijuana study

Marijuana leaf icon behind a black caduceus icon

A Harrisburg-based entity has entered into a 10-year partnership with the Penn State College of Medicine and affiliated Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center to do research on medical marijuana.

The Penn State College of Medicine and PA Options for Wellness will work together to investigate the potential benefits and risks of using marijuana extracts to treat a variety of health issues, according to a June 21 press release posted by Penn State Health.

PA Options for Wellness was founded in 2014 and is a state-approved clinical registrant under the medical marijuana program. State-approved clinical registrants are licensed to grow, process and dispense marijuana for research and medical treatment purposes.

Since 2015, PA Options for Wellness has been working in partnership with Penn State on non-cannabis related research to explore medicinal properties of hemp and flax, PA Options for Wellness said in a press release.

This new effort between the company and Penn State will help physicians and patients make better and more informed clinical decisions, PA Options for Wellness said.

“PA Options for Wellness is centered on research and education with the goal of becoming a leader in Pennsylvania’s emerging medical cannabis industry,” PA Options for Wellness CEO Tom Trite said in the release. “The shared goal of the College of Medicine and PA Options for Wellness is a medical model focused on the patient, research, outcomes, compliance and quality of life.”

PA Options for Wellness will provide funding to Penn State over 10 years, a significant portion of which will go to the College of Medicine to study health outcomes-based research and preclinical studies on the potential benefits of cannabinoids and medical marijuana, according to the release.

The college will help PA Options for Wellness determine which types of extracts are optimal for various conditions, as well as assist with the design of clinical trials, Penn State Health said. Initially, the research work will focus on pain management and anti-cancer activity.

“I think this unique opportunity places the commonwealth of Pennsylvania at the forefront of promoting high-quality research on medical marijuana,” Kent Vrana, chairman of the Department of Pharmacology at Penn State College of Medicine, said in the release.,62551