German researchers will soon launch a new study looking at cannabis’ effects on psychologically healthy adults after long periods of use.
But first, they need 25,000 marijuana users to participate.
Throughout the duration of the study, designated pharmacies will dispense preset amounts of medical-grade marijuana to test subjects on a monthly basis.
The study will be the first to explore the widespread recreational use of marijuana in Germany on a nationwide scale, an effort to understand the drug’s impact on healthy individuals who use the drug for several years.
More specific details about the duration of the study are yet to be revealed.
Germany only recently legalized the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes, allowing doctors to prescribe marijuana doses to critically ill patients at their own discretion.
Although the new legislation reduced the amount of scrutiny cannabis usage receives even in a medical setting, stringent laws surrounding the recreational use of the substance remain intact.
This new study hopes to not only shed some light on the real consequences of prolonged marijuana use among healthy adults, but also to provide much-needed medical insight on the short and long-term effects of marijuana whether used for recreational purposes or for medical reasons.
It will be conducted by the Research Initiative on Cannabis Consumption, put forth by a clinical psychology professor from the Medical School Hamburg and a lawyer in Berlin.
But before the study can begin, they’ll need the Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices to approve the revised version of an earlier application submitted in April.
BfArM declined to respond a request for comment by Tagesspiegel on whether the application had been submitted and whether it stood a chance of being approved.
Thousands Register in Weeks’ Time
In just 10 weeks, 2,000 people have signed up to participate in the study despite strict selection criteria.
Candidates under the age of 18, as well as people who have never used marijuana before, are not eligible to participate.
The researchers will also deny any candidate with psychiatric problems or a history of substance addiction.
The fact that the use of marijuana for recreational purposes is still illegal in Germany seemingly had no effect on the massive turnout.
Plans for the study were first announced in November 2016, initially stating a main objective to study the effects of marijuana on drug addicts.
The CEO of the project Marko Dorre released a statement citing the fact that millions of people living in Germany already use cannabis for recreational purposes.
According to him, the study is simply an opportunity to get science involved with the country’srecreational use of the drug.
Cannabis Widely Used in Germany
A report that was released earlier this year puts cannabis at the top of the list of the most used drugs in Germany with more than 7 percent of teenagers reporting to have used marijuana at least once in their lifetime.
Prior to the passage of legislation earlier this year, the laws permitted only a small fraction of the population (an estimated 1,000 people) to get access to medical marijuana.
The government also stands to benefit from the research, according to the founders, as it will provide a means to collect useful data on the non-therapeutic use of cannabis and the effects prolonged therapeutic use may have on patients as well.
The government’s move to legalize the use of cannabis for medical purposes has been labeled a risk assessment that can benefit the scientific institutions in the country.3