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Medical Cannabis Study Launches in Australia

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Researchers at the University of Sydney have launched a wide-ranging study that will look into how prescribed medical cannabis affects quality-of-life outcomes in patients.

The QUality of life Evaluation STudy (QUEST Initiative) aims to be one of the world’s largest studies when looking at how quality-of-life is affected by patients using medical cannabis. The study aims to recruit 2,100 people by June 2021, with plans to potentially expand the study internationally. Another recent study from the University of Sydney found CBD doesn’t impair driving, as opposed to small doses of THC.

The QUEST Initiative seeks to assess changes in patients’ self-reported quality-of-life changes.     Study lead Associate Professor Claudia Rutherford said the aims of the study are to track changes in patient-reported outcomes (PRO) over one year in a large cohort of patients prescribed medicinal cannabis products for a variety of conditions, and compare differences in PROs between patients who access medical cannabis for different health conditions.

“What makes our study unique is the comprehensive suite of patient-reported outcomes—or PROs—being assessed in patients prescribed medicinal cannabis,” Rutherford said. “By taking this approach, The QUEST Initiative may be able to provide future critical insights into the health of a patient over time and help us better understand whether the introduction of medicinal cannabis delivers cost-effective improvements to a patient’s wellbeing.”

The study is currently open with plans to close in March 2022. The QUEST Initiative has been endorsed by a number of national bodies, including MS Research Australia, Chronic Pain Australia, Arthritis Australia, Epilepsy Action Australia and Health Insurance Fund of Australia (HIF). The study is funded by Australian medical cannabis manufacturer Little Green Pharma.

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