After an alleged cannabis labeling controversy unfolded in Canada last month, The Valens Company Inc. (TSX: VLNS) says its partaking in a new study designed to bolster product verification.
In a statement released Monday, the extractor said it is partnering with the University Health Network in Toronto to conduct the clinical trial to help patients select medical cannabis products that are tested, from seed through to packaging.
Valens noted that the study will explore the therapeutic effects of medical cannabis in adults with chronic pain, sleep, or anxiety issues, and will leverage the blockchain verification technology developed by Shoppers Drug Mart.
Using Shoppers’ online medical weed portal, researchers will test various products to find how many milligrams of THC and CBD are being consumed. And if the products work for patients, the study will help them rely on the product consistently from batch to batch, UHN said.
“The challenge with the medical use of cannabis is that physicians and patients are unsure of the quality of products being consumed,” the study’s lead researcher Dr. Hance Clarke said in a separate statement. “For the first time we will have a national repository of data that can provide answers about the effectiveness of these products, to test their claims.”
In a first-of-its-kind study led by @UHN's Dr. Hance Clarke (@Drhaclarke), patients will be given access to a wide-range of validated cannabis products to test their effectiveness and help develop quality standards in the growing industry.
— University Health Network (@UHN) July 9, 2020
More research, better testing needed for medical weed
Last month, Global News reported a multi-million dollar proposed class-action lawsuit was filed against several large Canadian cannabis companies for allegedly mislabeling the potency of their products. The claim cited how six samples were sent to a testing lab and came back with THC levels as much as 54 per cent lower than advertised.
Valens said it will lend the study its Nūance cannabis oil products, which the company first developed in partnership with Shoppers in September last year.
Once the THC and CBD oils are tested and verified, they will be made available for physicians to prescribe to patients through the online platform run by Shoppers, the company said.
“The goal of this study is to provide physicians, pharmacists, and patients with confidence in medicinal cannabis products as an alternate treatment for various ailments, including pain relief,” Valens said.
According to Shoppers, the study will provide new data on the chemistry and DNA of cannabis that will enhance its online portal and TruTrace blockchain verification technology.
As director of pain services at Toronto General Hospital, Clarke said many patients are vocal about cannabis being a safer and effective alternative to opioids.
But he believes more scientific data is needed to help patients have better access to medical cannabis and to test these claims further.
“We need the evidence to help us in prescribing the appropriate validated product, at the right dose, for the right patient,” Clarke said. “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.”
The study plans to enroll 2,000 patients across Canada to observe and catalogue the benefits of medical cannabis for various common medical issues for 24 weeks.
Top image via Deposit Photos