Cannabis resource for healthcare providers, researchers launch January 10

Testing of medical marijuana in the laboratory.  Close.

A new web-based tool will help clinicians and researchers evaluate the latest evidence around the health effects of cannabis. (Getty Images)

In light of the widespread availability of legal cannabis, Oregon Health & Science University today launched a new web-based tool designed to help clinicians and researchers evaluate the latest evidence on the health effects of cannabis.

The site – cannabisevidence.org – is intended as an updated resource that synthesizes research and health effects of cannabis.

Known as Systematically Testing the Evidence on Marijuana, or STEM, the project is a joint production of researchers with OHSU’s Center for Evidence-based Policy and VA Portland Health Care System.

Devan Kansagara, a man with dark curly hair who smiles.

Devan Kansagara, MD (OHSU)

“Providers have not become familiar with the health effects of cannabis,” said lead investigator Devan Kansagara, MD, MCR, professor of medicine at the OHSU School of Medicine and a staff physician at Portland VA. ‚ÄúThis is partly due to the fact that we have lacked the evidence we would like to see when we recommend treatments to patients, and partly due to a lack of knowledge of terminology and practical issues about cannabis.

“The STEM site could help providers feel more confident by discussing cannabis and helping normalize conversations, similar to the process we have become so familiar with when talking to patients about alcohol use.”

The new website is designed as an independent, methodically rigorous resource primarily for healthcare professionals.

The site contains live systematic reviews that examine and update evidence on specific cannabis-related topics, such as the treatment of chronic pain and post-traumatic stress disorder, exposure during pregnancy, and cannabis use disorder. It includes a series of short, focused pieces called clinician briefs, which contain topics such as cannabis for chronic pain or cannabis as a replacement for opioids in patients with chronic pain.

The site will also in future contain patient-oriented material.

For researchers, the site includes a customized, searchable interface with ClinicalTrials.com to quickly search for specific cannabis-related products. This can be especially useful for researchers applying for a scholarship or designing a study.

Funding for this project is provided by the VA Office of Rural Health. Researchers or clinicians with questions or feedback should send an email to the project team at stemproject@ohsu.edu.

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