NM: Local Dispensary, Manufacturers Show Support For Medical Cannabis Research At UNM

Photo Credit: UNM Newsroom

Ultra Health, a local medical cannabis dispensary along with various cannabis manufacturers, presented a donation in support of The University of New Mexico’s Medical Cannabis Research Fund (MCRF) that will enable additional Veterans to enroll in a study involving post traumatic brain syndrome.

The dispensary, Ultra Health, recently conducted the fundraising drive to solicit donations for UNM’s MCRF. Ultra Health created 10 gift baskets filled with various medical cannabis products from manufacturers including Aromaland, Bhang, Mountain Top Extracts, Panaxia, Seebinger Hemp and Ultra Health. The gift baskets, valued at $300 each, were presented to different raffle ticket winners from various Ultra Health dispensary locations across New Mexico. Overall, $2,000 was raised for the MCRF, which will allow researchers to double a current study involving Veterans and PTSD.

“We’re trying to support cannabis research because this is a miracle drug. It helps in so many ways,” said Susan Billy, director of operations for Ultra Health. “We may not be able to cure patients, but we’re definitely going to improve their quality of life. This research is so important. There are so many things this (cannabis) can do and it can help so many people on so many levels, not just health-wise, but also economically. We’re still in prohibition with it and there’s not a lot of government funding out there for this research, so we have to raise it in our communities.”

“One of the best outcomes of this drawing is that now more people around our state are aware that UNM is conducting Medical Cannabis Research,” added Lew Seebinger, owner of Seebinger Hemp.

The  Medical Cannabis Research Fund (MCRF), established in August 2016 by Dr. Jacob Miguel Vigil, associate professor in UNM’s Department of Psychology and Sarah See Stith, assistant professor in the UNM Department of Economics, is tasked with the singular mission to harness the vast intellectual and technological resources from UNM and the larger central New Mexico community for conducting sound and ethical research on medical cannabis.

“Lew Seebinger’s support and advocacy for the Medical Cannabis Research Fund is an amazing demonstration of how special people can and do serve beyond themselves, sometimes purely with the goal of helping their fellow man,” said Vigil. “Thanks to Mr. Seebinger, Susan Billy at Ultra Health and the other supporters of this fundraising drive, we will be able to expand our current study of the effectiveness of medical cannabis for treating New Mexican Veterans with PTSD by an additional 20 participants, allowing us to better assess the potential of medicinal cannabis to heal those who have given so much for our country and our freedom.”

Vigil has conducted medical cannabis research for more than a decade including two recent studies that indicate legal cannabis may reduce use of dangerous prescription drugs, and a more recently, a study that found medical cannabis is effective at reducing opioid addition.

In the two studies, Vigil, along with Stith, have found a strong correlation between enrollment in the New Mexico Medical Cannabis Program (MCP) and cessation or reduction of opioid use, and that whole, natural Cannabis sativa and extracts made from the plant may serve as an alternative to opioid-based medications for treating chronic pain.

The MCRF is comprised of UNM faculty and researchers from a variety of disciplines that are focused on conducting scientifically valid and unbiased research on medical cannabis across all areas of social and biomedical sciences. The MCRF supports wide-ranging and often multi-disciplinary research programs that advance basic and clinical knowledge on the safety and potential medicinal uses of cannabis. The MCRF also supports student training, academic assistantships and professional programs that advance research on medical cannabis.

Donations made to the MCRF support the direct costs of studies intending to measure the safety and efficacy of using medical cannabis as a pharmacological agent. Findings from these multi-disciplinary investigations are intended to generate basic and clinical knowledge, educate patients, scientists, and physicians, and help inform regulation and use of medical cannabis.

“Every single cent that is donated to the MCRF is used to support the direct costs of research necessary to improve both the safety and effectiveness of medical cannabis as a pharmaceutical agent for human consumption,” said Vigil.

For more information, visit MCRF.