Saskatoon company to provide marijuana for clinical trial

Saskatoon's Prairie Plant Systems Inc. will provide marijuana for a clinical trial. Studying whether the plant is an effective treatment for pain associated with osteoarthritis.

SASKATOON – Locally based Prairie Plant Systems, a division of CanniMed, is funding Health Canada’s first approved medical marijuana clinical trial. The Saskatoon business will also provide all cannabis for the research.

The study will take place over the next 12 to 18 months, using five different strains of vaporized cannabis with varying amounts of the active ingredients delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD).

The research will take place at McGill University Health Centre in Montreal and Dalhousie University in Halifax, N.S.

READ MORE: Could medical cannabis help arthritis patients? Halifax researcher wants to find out

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The study is double-blind and placebo controlled, with a goal of determining whether cannabis is an effective treatment for pain associated with osteoarthritis of the knee.

The president of Prairie Plant Systems, Brent Zettl, said the company is keeping an arms length distance from the study. The company has been working toward clinical trial approval for three years.

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“There’s been a large call for having scientific and clinical evidence that medical cannabis actually does something,” explained Zettl.

“Up to this point, most of the information is either anecdotal, what we’ve seen with patients and observed it (the marijuana prescription) doing – or has been in lab settings with lab animals and so forth.”

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Forty patients will be part of the study. Over the course of the trial they’ll document pain levels of their arthritis after taking the vaporized medication. The patients will not know which of the five strains they received or, whether they received the placebo.

At trial conclusion, researchers anticipate data analysis will take one year.

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