Utah’s study of pot’s effects on pain might not conclude before November ballot initiative

Marijuana stock image | Photo by Creative-Family/iStock/Getty Images Plus, St. George News

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A $500,000 state-funded study, designed to gauge marijuana’s impact on pain, has been delayed so many times due to federal regulations that it might not be ready before Utah voters decide in November whether to pass a medical marijuana ballot initiative.

In this 2017 file photo, a marijuana plant grows at the Desert Grown Farms cultivation facility in Las Vegas, Nevada, June 28, 2017 | Associated Press photo by John Locher, St. George News

Ivy Estabrooke, executive director of the Utah Science Technology and Research, told the Deseret News it took nearly a year and a half for researchers to jump through the legal hoops necessary to begin the study this summer.

Even if the study’s findings are too late to influence voters, Estabrooke said, it can still help the state going forward.

If Utah voters approve medical marijuana, she said the findings “will provide insight into efficacy, and that will help individuals and doctors decide whether to use it.”

The study aims to examine how cannabis affects people who suffer from chronic pain. Subjects will receive chocolate pudding laced with different combinations of THC, marijuana’s key psychoactive compound, and cannabidiol, its non-psychoactive ingredient, as well as a placebo.

“We’ll have a better informed idea of whether it’s truly helping with pain,” Estabrooke said.

Marijuana is legal in some form in more than 30 states and the District of Columbia, but it remains illegal at the federal level.

Despite increasing acceptance, there is little rigorous research on the benefits and harms of marijuana. Last year, a government-commissioned group concluded the lack of scientific information about marijuana and cannabidiol poses a risk to public health.

The ballot initiative before Utah voters in November would create a regulatory system for growing and distributing marijuana products to people with certain medical conditions. The law would not allow people to smoke marijuana but instead limit them to topical, edible and oil products.

Read more: Opponents drop lawsuit to block medical marijuana initiative, but fight for vote continues

Opponents of the initiative, including Republican Gov. Gary Herbert, say there has not been enough reliable research into the treatment’s benefits and side effects.

Supporters have dismissed those concerns.

DJ Schanz, director of the pro-initiative Utah Patients Coalition campaign, said Utah lawmakers’ funding of the study was a smoke screen that allowed them to posture as if they were confronting the issue while in fact delaying actual work.


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Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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  • RBen July 9, 2018 at 7:41 am

    It does not matter.Im sure the study will show that it is harmful to a person’s health.I use to have total confidence in the Utah legislators and the LDS Church but not any more.The LDS church has over a billion dollars in big Pharma stocks.Talk about conflict of interest.Plus I have asked every Mormon I know which is lot of people and I can not find one that is against the Med Marijuana.But yet the LDS comes out hard against it.

    • Jaybird July 9, 2018 at 9:09 am

      Hmmm… the bigotry is strong with this one

      • Paul Dail July 9, 2018 at 9:26 am

        Jaybird, please refrain from changing your screen name to pretend to be other commenters.

        St. George News

    • No Filter July 9, 2018 at 11:01 am

      I would love to see the proof that the LDS church has stock in big Pharma, please share if you have more info. I always knew they were shady, but that is huge and makes total sense.

      • IPFreely July 9, 2018 at 2:29 pm

        The Church has stock in many things as do I. If you have a stock portfolio I bet you do to. Why so hypocritical?

        • comments July 9, 2018 at 5:29 pm

          And LDS inc can do no wrong because IP’s mommy and daddy said so. Plus, you clowns have got the whole “living prophet” thing going, huh? Warren Jeffs is also a “living prophet”, every bit as much so as the LDS one. I’m not even sure who the new one is. Prophet Monson is still dead, right?

          • IPFreely July 9, 2018 at 10:13 pm

            Hahaha.. nice try comment. Way to keep it 3rd grade but still a little above your IQ

      • comments July 9, 2018 at 4:05 pm

        The LDS organization is totally money driven. Them holding massive amounts of stocks in pharma is extremely distasteful and may be a conflict of interest in so many areas, but it’s legal, and I suppose they themselves don’t consider it ‘shady’ because they are making bank big time–good ol’ LD$ inc. $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$.

        • IPFreely July 9, 2018 at 5:31 pm

          Hmmm… are you the pot or the kettle

          • John July 9, 2018 at 7:32 pm

            comments has no money , that’s why he failed at being a Mormon and cries all the time.

          • comments July 9, 2018 at 9:00 pm

            I don’t claim to be a “church of Jesus christ” as LDS does as they wallow in greed and hypocrisy, dear IP. 😉

          • John July 9, 2018 at 10:09 pm

            waaah waaaah waaaah!

          • Stupid comment July 9, 2018 at 10:29 pm

            Comment is one special snowflake

        • comments mom July 9, 2018 at 10:21 pm

          Isn’t it past your bedtime?

  • Jmfixitman July 9, 2018 at 8:19 am

    Let’s see, Utah has the highest opioid addictions of any state, highest suicide rate in the nation… But yet the state/LDS church can’t seem to stop trying to control their members with their unrealistic expectations of their members. No one overdoses and dies from marijuana use, but they do from opioids and alcohol, AND suicide. But hey let’s not give our citizens any relief from pain.

    • Jaybird July 9, 2018 at 9:10 am

      That’s it… let the hate flow through you.. yes yes

      • Paul Dail July 9, 2018 at 9:26 am

        Jaybird, please refrain from changing your screen name to pretend to be other commenters.

        St. George News

        • IPFreely July 9, 2018 at 9:46 am


        • John July 9, 2018 at 1:04 pm

          jailturd has multi personality disorder and a man crush on Trump

          • comments July 9, 2018 at 9:03 pm

            nope, that’s you johnboy, ahahah 😉

          • John July 9, 2018 at 10:11 pm

            Loser, no money , no job and no friends.. you are one miserable wretch “comments”. If you had half a brain you would be bikeand fish!

      • Real Life July 9, 2018 at 5:18 pm

        Jaybird, you got busted.

        • comments July 9, 2018 at 9:02 pm

          it was a fake jailbird–likely IPfree. real jailbird loves obama 😉

          • IPFreely July 9, 2018 at 10:14 pm

            Prob comment trying to get some attention

          • John July 9, 2018 at 10:14 pm

            jailturd has a mancrush on Trump and you got one on Caitlyn Jenner..hahahahahahahaha!

          • IPFreely July 9, 2018 at 10:18 pm

            Hahaha.. comment got all upset and went crying to St. George News.. sob sob someone is pretending to be me and I don’t like it.. boo hoo

          • John July 9, 2018 at 11:51 pm

            Somebody needs to get a life if they are pretending to be that sad sack of shells (“comments”)! hahahahahaha!

  • ladybugavenger July 9, 2018 at 8:25 am

    I believe evidence has shown that opioids are harmful to peoples health, but oxy’s are legal. What happens when a person is addicted to pain meds and they cant get a prescription? Hmmmm 1. They lie until they find a doctor that will prescribe it. 2. They get some heroin because it’s cheaper.

    People that smoke pot are already smoking pot.

    But it’s not about logic it’s about big pharma, like you said Big Ben

    • Jaybird July 9, 2018 at 9:11 am

      Agreed.. big pharma baby!

      • Paul Dail July 9, 2018 at 9:26 am

        Jaybird, please refrain from changing your screen name to pretend to be other commenters.

        St. George News

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