Thomas Jefferson University’s Institute of Emerging Health Professions received a $3 million gift from Australian philanthropists, Barry and Joy Lambert, to support its Center for Medical Cannabis Education and Research. The center will be renamed The Lambert Center for the Study of Medicinal Cannabis and Hemp at Thomas Jefferson University and it will study the therapeutic potential of a wide range of cannabinoids, including a well-known cannabinoid called cannabidiol, as well as many of its close chemical variants that are lesser-known or not often explored scientifically. Hemp – a non-psychoactive variety of the cannabis plant that has been used for paper, textiles, and cordage for centuries – is an additional source for cannabidiols the center will investigate.

The university created the center in May, 2016 to provide expert-developed, unbiased information and guidance to clinicians and patients about the medical uses of marijuana and cannabinoid focused-therapies – and server as an educational, academic and research resource for both healthcare professionals and the public on the subject of medical marijuana.

The center’s mission is to advance the scientific basis, collaborative research efforts, and educational opportunities associated with the clinical use of cannabis-derived therapies, while also influencing social innovation and patient experience. The center is led by Charles V. Pollack Jr., MA, M.D., FACEP, FAAEM, FESC, FAHA, FCPP, and academic and scientific leadership is provided by a multidisciplinary Steering Committee comprised of leading national and international experts in the field of medical cannabis.

“The ratio of hype and advocacy to scientific knowledge in the field of medical marijuana is far too high. Patients and their caregivers want new approaches to illness management and pain relief but their exposure to under-tested and un-validated treatments should be limited and carefully managed and monitored while a stronger evidence base is developed,” according to Pollack, who says the Steering Committee designates a comprehensive research agenda for medical cannabis, identifying what need to learned and how to learn it. For more information on CMCER, visit http://www.jefferson.edu/university/emerging-health-professions/lambert-center.html.