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B.C. Cancer will lead a first-ever national clinical trial to determine whether cannabis plant extracts truly help with symptom relief. The trial will examine how cannabis properties affect and possibly reduce cancer-related symptoms including pain, sleep disturbance, anxiety and nausea.

After the Health Canada ethics approval is obtained, recruitment will begin for the 48-day trial with 150 patients from cities across Canada including Vancouver, Abbotsford, Prince George, Victoria, Calgary, Winnipeg, Ottawa, Kingston and Toronto.

Anonymous funding of about $1 million has been raised for the randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study that will be held by the BC Cancer Foundation. The Whistler Medical Marijuana Corp. will be donating organic cannabis oil-based products to be used in the study. The company made headlines earlier this week following purchase by Aurora Cannabis Inc.

Dr. Pippa Hawley, a palliative care specialist and medical director of the provincial pain and symptom management program at B.C. Cancer, will lead the trial. She has been providing authorization for patients requiring medical cannabis for years.

Hawley says Canada’s legalization of cannabis paved the way for this type of study to better assess whether patient claims of benefits from cannabis usage are justified by the evidence.

The study will compare three cannabis extracts (high-THC/low-CBD; low THC/high-CBD, or equal amounts THC/CBD) against each other and a placebo. Each patient will be asked to titrate the doses and rank the compounds depending on their impressions of symptom changes.

Patients must meet strict criteria in order to qualify for the trial. Hawley expects recruitment to begin by the summer, data collection to be completed by the end of 2019 and study results published by June 2020.

Source: https://vancouversun.com/news/local-news/b-c-cancer-to-lead-first-national-cannabis-clinical-trial-for-symptom-relief

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