Various organizations countrywide have committed to cannabis education and research. Two such organizations are PA Options for Wellness and Penn State’s College.
Tom Trite, CEO and President of PA Options, confirms that he and his team have a strong commitment to cannabis education, research, and a real medical model. Pennsylvania’s medical cannabis research program a perfect opportunity for the Lower Paxton Township company.
Trite talks about developing assisting with regulations for the Pennsylvania medical cannabis program. He further discusses his business plan for his vertically integrated company in 2014, intending to support anecdotal information about medical cannabis with double-blind studies.
“It took them way too long to begin research. But they are in now, and we’re happy to work with others within the industry to provide research,” Trite said. “We feel it’s a great need, both within Pennsylvania and countrywide.”
In 2015, Trite began discussions with Dr. Kent Vrana, Head of the Penn State College of Medicine’s Department of Pharmacology. Later in 2019, the University, under the Pennsylvania medical cannabis research program, selected PA Options as its “clinical registrant” partner.
According to Dr. Kent Vrana, Tom Trite is the perfect partner for this joint study. He is a practicing pharmacist, trained at the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy, and ran a company of long-term care facility pharmacists for years.
“He’s in this with a medical model. It’s all about the patients and getting them to care. Besides having pharmacists involved at every stage, from production to dispensing to follow-up—he’s also interested in publishing data. Whether positive or negative, it will be out there. PA options have no control over what we publish. We keep them updated on our doings. If there is information that says something doesn’t work, he wants that to be shared. I was always very pleased with that.” Dr. Kent Vrana further added.
Trite and his team were also pleased with working with Penn State researchers.
“I can’t say enough about Kent and his team,” Trite says. “We were excited to be chosen to work together. It was a very tough selection process with them, and we’re happy to come out on the other side. The researchers are phenomenal; I believe there will be many great things we can do for a lot of people.”
The studies will focus on improving patients’ results and life quality through the use of medical cannabis. It will also focus on the safe use and administration of cannabis products. PA options will study its patients. It will establish how different medical cannabis formulations affect the 23 qualifying conditions in Pennsylvania’s program. From there, they can determine which formulations perform better and under which conditions.
According to Trite, the study will also work on various disease states and scientific, independent review board-approved, double-blind studies. Both negative and positive results will get reported along with any drug interactions.
Penn State has done studies in the past on how cannabis can interfere with other drugs. Vrana and his team published a paper in Medical Cannabis and Cannabinoids. The article singled out 57 drugs with potential drug-to-drug interactions with cannabinoids.
The Pennsylvania Department of Health distributed the paper by Vrana and his team. The article reached 2500 doctors registered with the state’s medical cannabis program. Vrana makes it clear that he is looking forward to advancing the research through the university’s studies with PA Options.
“A 10-year relationship with PA Options is what we have, and we are in for the long haul,” he says. “I suspect we’ll probably only start looking at the data in a year, maybe 18 months.”
PA Options and Penn State will, on a later date, launch double-blind clinical studies. They will focus on how certain medical cannabis products impact specific medical conditions.
PA options and Penn State College want their cannabis health study collaboration to offer personalized medicine to patients. Medication might not work for everybody, but it will help provide working medication for most people, especially those in a medical marijuana program.