The first supplies of marijuana cigarettes and THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) capsules for use in chemotherapy treatment of cancer patients have arrived at four Oregon hospitals, Oregon State Health Division officials said Wednesday.
Altogether, 21 hospital pharmacies in 12 Oregon cities are approved to maintain and dispense supplies to be used in Oregon's THC-Marijuana Research Project administered by the health division.
The project is to determine the effectiveness of oral Delta-9-THC and smoked marijuana in preventing and minimizing nausea and vomiting in patients receiving cancer chemotherapy, according to Dr. John Googins, Oregon State Health Division, chief of the Office of Disease Monitoring and Control, and principal investigator for the project.
The long-awaited drugs were received Tuesday by pharmacies of Providence Medical Center and Good Samaritan Hospital in Portland, Columbia Memorial Hospital, Astoria, and Rogue Valley Memorial Hospital in Medford.
The health division's efforts to obtain the federally grown marijuana began more than a year ago, but many other states have requested supplies for similar projects, causing a delay.
The cigarettes and capsules containing THC, an active ingredient of marijuana, will be prescribed by cancer specialists for patients who wish to take part in the research study, Googins said.
Thirty private physicians have been accepted as investigators in the Oregon research of the marijuana use.
More orders of THC from the National Institute of Drug Abuse are expected to arrive next week at the pharmacies of Albany General Hospital, Albany; St. Charles Medical Center, Bend; and Good Samaritan Hospital, Corvallis.
The three-year pilot project in Oregon is part of a federal research program and is being undertaken in the state in response to legislation enacted in 1979 allowing medical use of marijuana, Googins said.
However, that bill called for distribution of marijuana confiscated by state police and the health division could not guarantee that street marijuana would be free of contaminants.
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