Georgia C.A.R.E. Project has obtained a long forgotten document summarizing Georgia’s medical marijuana research program enacted in 1980. The eight page document from 1983 summarized the data collected during a short research program concerning smoking marijuana and THC capsules for treatment of cancer chemotherapy as an anti-emetic (nausea ). The research program also included treatment for glaucoma, but no documents have been found to support this research. Some believe the research documents were destroyed by the state of Georgia and/or Emory University.
With the unanimous passage of the Georgia Controlled Substance Therapeutic Research Act in 1980 Georgia was one a the first states in the nation to pass medical marijuana legislation.
A joint study by the state of Georgia and Emory University included more than 100 patients. Canisters of pre-rolled cigarettes from the federal government’s cultivation program at the University of Mississippi (Ole Miss) were given to patients selected by the Patient Qualification Review Board and were allowed to take home the canisters and use the cannabis on their own and report the results on forms. THC was also given to patients in a capsule form. The study focused on the efficacy and toxicity of cannabis.
According to a former state spokesperson familiar with the program, the research was suspended after the federal government cut off the supply of what was described as “ditch weed”. Issues with patient participation included a stigma attached to smoking marijuana as many of these patients were older adults with little or no experience with marijuana and the lack of quality (harshness) of the cannabis being produced in the 1980s. Some patients preferred swallowing a capsule but with nausea keeping the medicine down was a problem.
The study concluded that smoking marijuana (whole plant) and THC capsules to be an “effective anti-emetics”.
In 2015, the debate over medicinal cannabis continues in Georgia with competing bills being introduced. It is expected that some form of medical cannabis will be approved in the 2015 session, but many observers remain cautiously optimistic given the political shenanigans that occurred in the 2014 session that killed House Bill 885.