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Study Examining Medical Cannabis Patients And COVID-19

A University of Miami research team is studying effects of COVID-19 on medical cannabis users and is looking for survey participants.

Many medical cannabis patients have compromised immune systems or suffer chronic conditions that may put them at an elevated risk from the coronavirus; so the researchers are particularly interested in learning how this group is faring.

“.. this is a population that we cannot forget about in our joint effort to ‘flatten the curve,'” said Denise C. Vidot, who is an assistant professor at University of Miami’s School of Nursing and Health Studies and also a trained epidemiologist.

The study will be carried out through an anonymous online survey and gather epidemiologic* data relating to not only the physical health, but also the mental health of those using medicinal cannabis. It will also be looking into changes in medical cannabis frequency of use, dose and other factors based on COVID-19-related closures and updates. Additionally, the research will be examining the sharing of inhalation devices among patients, whether those be something as simple as a joint or advanced vaping equipment.

“If COVID-19 has taught us anything, it is that population-based data is vital to make informed decisions,” said Dr. Vidot. “So, we are combining our skills to do our part to provide that data. Our goal is to have cannabis users from every country complete this survey, so the data is more generalizable.”

The survey is anonymous and will take 10-15 minutes to complete.

This isn’t Dr. Vidot’s first brush with cannabis research – far from it. She has delved into post-operative marijuana use among young adult bariatric (stomach) surgery patients, marijuana use and unhealthy weight loss practices among adolescents, and the relationship between prenatal and current marijuana use among African American young adults.

Her other current research focuses on the relationship between metabolic syndrome and marijuana use, and  how the relationship varies by race/ethnicity. Just on that, way back in 2015 we mentioned a study led by Dr. Vidot in relation to cannabis use and metabolic syndrome.

Dr. Vidot’s University of Miami profile also notes she currently serves on the Marijuana Sub-Committee of the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists and is the Cannabis (Marijuana) Research Needs Workgroup Chair within the Cannabis and Public Health Consortium.

*Epidemiology is a term meaning the study and analysis of  who, when, and where patterns and determinants of health and disease conditions in defined populations. 

Terry Lassitenaz
Terry Lassitenaz writes exclusively for Hemp Gazette and has done so since the site launched in 2015. He has a special interest in the political arena relating to medical cannabis, particularly in Australia, and addressing the many myths surrounding this incredibly useful plant. You can contact Terry here.

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