The Latest PA Medical Marijuana Research

by Haley Mills ยท February 28, 2023

Stay up to date on the latest research surrounding medical marijuana in PA. Learn about its effects, benefits, and potential drawbacks.

pa medical marijuana research

Multiple universities in Pennsylvania are researching medical marijuana, exploring its effects on patients with specific medical and behavioral disorders. Drexel University College of Medicine, Penn State College of Medicine, Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine-Erie, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine, and Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University are among the universities conducting research.

Drexel University College of Medicine has opened a new Medical Cannabis Research Center to conduct evidence-based research on the effects of medical cannabis on patients. Meanwhile, Thomas Jefferson University is enrolling patients for online surveys on the use of medical marijuana to treat anxiety and sleep-related symptoms.

The studies aim to understand the anxiety levels and sleep disturbance symptoms experienced by individuals using medical marijuana, how people track their use of medical marijuana, and how they are affected by medical marijuana use. Other studies aim to evaluate the impact of medical marijuana on patients with cancer, chronic pain, inflammation, and sickle cell disease.

The universities are partnering with clinical registrant partners, such as Agronomed Biologics LLC, PA Options for Wellness, Goodblend, CR: CannTech PA LLC, Organic Remedies, Story of PA LLC, and Laurel Harvest Labs LLC, to conduct their research. The universities aim to gather data and insights into the use and processing of medicinal cannabis and its impact on behavior, quality of life, cognition, chronic pain, and opioid management.

How to Get a Medical Marijuana Card in PA

A Pennsylvania medical marijuana patient must be 18 or older to visit a medical marijuana dispensary. Only those who can prove PA residency can apply for a patient id number and a license for Pennsylvania’s medical marijuana program. A potential patient must also have medical history showing a diagnosis that qualifies a doctor to recommend them as a patient that can legally obtain medical marijuana.

These are the steps to get a medical marijuana card in Pennsylvania with the help of Leafy DOC:

  1. First, you’ll select your State to receive the most accurate and up-to-date information about the Pennsylvania medical marijuana card process.
  2. Submit an intake form with personal details and a medical history summary; then, we’ll help you book an on-demand telehealth appointment or schedule a convenient time later.
  3. An online recommendation with Leafy DOC starts at 195 USD for new patients and renewals in Pennsylvania. There is a money-back guarantee if you are not approved for PA medical use.
  4. Connect with the right doctor in minutes and easily chat with your provider on a smartphone, computer, or tablet via phone call or video.
  5. Our licensed physicians will evaluate your qualifying condition, address your questions and concerns, and then provide a recommendation for medical cannabis via email within two business days.
  6. A person must first be registered online at the Department of Health portal to administer medical marijuana or participate in the Pennsylvania Medical Marijuana Program. Register as a patient or caregiver at
  7. After the State approves your registration, they will email you a temporary patient ID card and a physical card within ten business days. Once you have the MMJ card, you can visit Pennsylvania dispensaries and purchase medicinal cannabis products.

Qualifying Conditions in Pennsylvania

The approved qualifying conditions that benefit from medical cannabis include the following:

  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis
  • Anxiety Disorders
  • Autism
  • Cancer
  • Crohn’s Disease
  • Dyskinetic Disorders
  • Damage to the nervous tissue of the spinal cord with an objective neurological indication of intractable spasticity
  • Epilepsy
  • Glaucoma
  • HIV/Aids
  • Huntington’s Disease
  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease
  • Intractable Seizures
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Neurodegenerative Disorders
  • Neuropathies
  • Opioid Use Disorders
  • Parkinson’s Disease
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Severe chronic or intractable pain of neuropathic origin or severe chronic or intractable pain in which conventional therapy is contraindicated or ineffective
  • Sickle Cell Anemia
  • Terminal Illness
  • Tourette Syndrome

Certified MMJ Academic Clinical Research Centers in PA

The following facilities have either established a medical marijuana research program or are conducting medical marijuana research in partnership with a state-approved lab to observe health outcomes and MMJ’s effects on serious medical conditions. Potential MMJ patients who would like to volunteer to participate should visit each organization’s website for more information.

Drexel University College of Medicine, Philadelphia 

Drexel University College of Medicine in Philadelphia got permission from the Pennsylvania Department of Health to study medical marijuana from a registered grower. They partnered with Agronomed Biologics LLC and opened a new center to research the effects of medical marijuana on people with certain medical and behavioral conditions.

Penn State College of Medicine, Hershey 

Penn State College of Medicine was one of eight universities approved by Gov. Tom Wolf in May 2018 as a Certified Academic Clinical Research Center. Also, the Penn State College of Medicine ACRC, in a relationship with PA Options for Wellness, was one of the first three centers approved by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in June 2019.

Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia 

TJU (Thomas Jefferson University) is asking people to participate in two online surveys to understand how medical marijuana is being used to treat anxiety and sleep-related issues.

The first survey is about understanding anxiety levels, how people track their medical marijuana use, and how it affects them. The second survey is about understanding the sleep problems experienced by people with chronic conditions who use medical marijuana and how they use it and other sleep aids to manage them.

In addition, TJU is planning to conduct more studies to observe how medical marijuana is being used to treat cancer, chronic pain, and generalized anxiety disorder.

University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh

Along with their partner, Goodblend, the University of Pittsburgh is conducting an observational study on the effects of medicinal cannabis on acute pain, chronic pain, and inflammation in adult patients with sickle cell disease. Also, completing a sophisticated retrospective analysis of the impact of cannabis on chronic pain, overall well-being, sleep, and opioid use with the UPMC Department of Anesthesiology.

Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine-Erie (LECOM) 

LECOM became a certified ACRC in 2018 by the Pennsylvania medical marijuana program and has been conducting medical cannabis research with CannTech PA LLC doing business as Ayr Wellness. 

Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, Philadelphia (PCOM)

PCOM, in collaboration with its clinical registrant partner Organic Remedies, has developed a multi-study research program that will gather and share data on the use and processing of medical marijuana products and their impact on behavior, quality of life, cognition, chronic pain, and opioid use disorder management.

Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine, Scranton (GCSOM)

The Department of Health authorized the Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine as an Academic Clinical Research Center in September 2021. It became operational in the summer of 2022 with its clinical registrant partner, Story of PA LLC.

With increasing numbers of residents registered to use medical marijuana and leveraging Geisinger’s close community relations and aim to make better health easier for their patients, the Geisinger ACRC is researching to evaluate the impact of medical marijuana on patients cared for within the Geisinger Health System. 

Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University, Philadelphia 

Temple University is a certified Academic Clinical Research Center with Laurel Harvest as the clinical registrant for medical marijuana research. Together, we are working to deploy pharmaceutical principles to medical marijuana research, exploring cannabis components to identify mechanisms of action and optimizing formulation and dosing.

Ongoing research focuses on the therapeutic potential of medical cannabis for applications in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), post-incisional pain, and eosinophilic esophagitis (EOE). To accomplish this, Temple has engaged investigators from around our university, including those from the College of Science and Technology, School of Pharmacy, Lewis Katz School of Medicine, Temple University Hospital, and College of Public Health.

This effort is led by Temple’s well-established Center of Substance Abuse Research (CSAR). Most recently, Temple and Laurel Harvest (newly acquired by Cresco Labs in 2021) have been working on clinical studies to focus on cannabis efficacy for sleep troubles arising from chronic pain and cannabis use for neuropathic pain. 

The Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania (PSOM), Philadelphia 

The Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania has partnered with Curaleaf as its clinical registrant to advance science through medical marijuana research. Researchers at PSOM are currently working to assess medical marijuana for patients with epilepsy and evaluating medical marijuana as part of an outpatient palliative treatment plan for patients with cancer.

Last Updated: January 30, 2024

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