Researchers Raise Funds for Phase 1 Trial to Test Medical Cannabis in Sickle Cell Disease

Catarina Silva, MSc avatar

by Catarina Silva, MSc |

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The Sickle Cell Foundation of Georgia (SCFG) has partnered with Biotech Research Laboratories and the Phoenix Tears Foundation to raise money for the first clinical study focused on the effectiveness of cannabis oil in sickle cell disease (SCD)-related pain management.

The initiative is in honor of World Sickle Cell Day, held annually on June 19 to mark the day the United Nations General Assembly recognized SCD as a public health problem.

“We urge the Sickle Cell community, our friends and allies to join in supporting the coalition as we search for alternative treatments for those battling this painful and sometimes fatal condition,” Deb McGhee McCrary, SCFG president and CEO, said in a news release. “These trials will fully explore the pain relief properties of medical cannabis as an alternative to highly addictive opioids.”

Biotech President Jacob Savage added, “Pain control represents the most practical way to ensure a better quality of life for sickle cell patients.”

A 2010 Canadian study on the use of smoked cannabis as a management therapy for chronic pain found that a single inhalation (25 mg) three times a day was well-tolerated, reduced pain intensity, and improved patients’ sleep.

Cannabis oil has the potential to relieve chronic pain and inflammation. While studies are limited due to strict government laws, a growing number of patients with several diseases are seeking symptom relief with cannabis oil.

In 2015, the Georgia Legislature allowed severe and end-stage SCD patients to legally use medical cannabis oil to help alleviate disease-related pain episodes.

Led by Biotech Research Laboratories, the upcoming medical cannabis Phase 1 trial will be the first of its kind in the U.S. Researchers’ funding goal is $250,000.

Public donations are welcome via the SCFG’s website.

“This is important work for the thousands who suffer with SCD,” said Phoenix Tears Foundation President Janet Rosendahl (Sweeney), PhD. “We look forward to bringing our years of research with Cannabis to those suffering from Sickle Cell Anemia.”