First-of-its-kind survey 'great opportunity for the industry to gather data directly from patients'
Deborah Gertz Husar
Posted: Dec. 22, 2015 7:10 am
QUINCY -- A first-of-its-kind survey should help the Illinois' medical marijuana industry better target production to meet patient needs.
The Medical Cannabis Patient Survey asks patients to rate their experience with each strain they buy, focusing on symptoms associated with pain, sleep, nausea and more. The anonymous survey also collects basic patient demographics such as age range and ZIP code.Herbal Remedies in Quincy is one of four Illinois dispensaries working with Revolution Cannabis Analytics on the study."Because cannabis has been illegal from the mid 1930s, there hasn't been well-defined research studies done on the cannabis plant. A lot of what we know is coming directly from people who are using it as a medicine," said Christine Wildrick, chief operating officer of Herbal Remedies. "This is a great opportunity for the industry to gather data directly from patients ... and to help dispensary techs steer patients in the direction of recommending a good strain that's going to help them."Surveys will be collected through Jan. 8.Revolution Cannabis Analytics is a recently-formed division of Revolution Enterprises, which manages state-of-the-art cannabis cultivation and laboratory facilities in Barry and Delavan. It wants to better understand the unique effects of cannabinoids, a class of compounds found in the cannabis plant, and the types of relief they may provide."There's a misconception about cannabis that it's all the same, but it's grown in a variety of strains," Wildrick said. "When a patient comes into the dispensary, they're not just buying cannabis, they're buying a specific cannabis strain that has a specific purpose. The dispensary tech and the patient determine what strain is going to help give them relief of the symptoms."Herbal Remedies has been open since Nov. 9 and has about 70 patients with health conditions ranging from multiple sclerosis and cancer to fibromyalgia, spinal cord injuries and seizure disorders. Survey data will help measure the effectiveness of particular cannabis strains in treating specific symptoms."We're just wanting to make sure that the cultivation centers are growing the right strain in order to meet our patient needs," Wildrick said. "That's what the program's all about is to bring relief to patients for chronic conditions. Ultimately the information will be shared with physicians and hopefully help them see that there is validity to cannabis as a medicine."Revolution Enterprises CEO Tim McGraw said the information captured through Revolution Cannabis Analytics will help create the "next generation" of the company's genetic varieties to address specific conditions."This program will help Illinois to lead the world in the collection of analytical data and patient feedback as it relates to the science of cannabis," McGraw said in a news release.Illinois created strict controls within its pilot program to ensure the production of high-quality medical cannabis, including the implementation of third-party testing and labeling requirements. The results of lab testing are printed on all medical cannabis labels.