Describing it as “groundbreaking” research, Yale University School of Medicine announced Friday that it is collaborating with a major cannabis grower to study the effects of medical marijuana on mental health.

Researchers at the school are teaming up with CT Pharmaceutical Solutions Inc., a Connecticut-based producer of medical marijuana products, for a clinical study examining the effectiveness of cannabis on alleviating both stress and pain in patients.

It marks the first study to be approved by the Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection’s Medical Marijuana Research Program that will examine stress and mental health-related issues.

Hartford Business Journal reported that the first phase of the research will “will examine men and women between the ages of 21 to 45 who are recreational marijuana users but do not qualify for medicinal cannabis use,” while phase two “will include men and women ages 21 to 60 with chronic pain.” Every participant in the research will be given a placebo, cannabidiol (CBD), the cannabis compound promoted for health and wellness benefits, or the psychoactive tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), according to the Journal.

The research will also build upon CTPharma’s previous work with Yale professor Rajita Sinha, who in 2017 collaborated with the company on research to see how medical marijuana impacts stress and pain.

“With increasing levels of use of medical marijuana products in the U.S. today, it is imperative that we understand the science of how these products are working to alleviate patient symptoms,” Sinha said, as quoted by the Journal.

A Unique Research Program

Medical marijuana was made legal in Connecticut back in 2012, but the law saw a significant expansion in 2016, with additional dispensaries receiving approval. The expansion also included what Connecticut calls a “one of a kind medical marijuana research program,” which made Friday’s announced collaboration between Yale and CTPharma possible. The program allows for hospitals, academic institutions, as well as both medical marijuana producers and dispensaries to apply to conduct research “intended to increase knowledge or information regarding the growth, processing, medical attributes, dosage forms, administration or use of marijuana to treat or alleviate symptoms of any medical conditions or the effects of such symptoms.”

Connecticut continued to expand its law last month, when state lawmakers added five more eligible conditions for medical marijuana prescriptions, including Tourette syndrome and intractable neuropathic pain. Both adults and patients under the age of 18 suffering from those latter two conditions are eligible for medical cannabis under the new terms of the law.

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