UW Research Goes to Pot

Researchers aim to bridge the information gap for health care providers and the public

Many chronic pain sufferers have long known the benefits of medical marijuana—but obtaining information about it isn’t as easy as going to a regular primary care doctor or medical establishment and asking for a sample. Marijuana’s legalization—and subsequently higher profile—this year in Washington means a greater demand for information.

The University of Washington is spearheading the effort to narrow the research gap, using a $110,000 grant from the state attorney general’s office (the story of how that grant came to pass is fascinating) it will use to research the effects of medical marijuana and to develop education and training materials for health care providers, community organizations and the general public. According the UW’s project description, “chronic pain is an emerging public health challenge” and “Washington has one of the highest rates of opiate-related mortality in the country, often the result of mismanagement or abuse of medications prescribed to alleviate chronic pain.”

For more on pain management and Washington's move to combat overuse of opiates, we talk with specialists in our Fall/Winter issue story, "Comforting Measures."

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