Scientific Consultant to the Medical Cannabis Industry David Ostrow Consulting
January 2005 – Present (9 years 6 months)Chicago and nationally
Newest area of scientific consulting for DO&A is to provide specific organizational, employee recruitment and operating procedure assistance to new Medicinal Cannabis growers, dispensaries, recommending PHCPs, and caregiver organizations. Currently working with one Holistic Center that will offer Cannabis Recommendations in the context of multidisciplinary diagnostic and therapeutic services that combine existing medical procedures and treatments with newly available alternative or complementary treatments made possible by the passage of a pilot compassionate use Medicinal Cannabis Program in IL. Also working with growers, dispensaries, the ILMC Business Association and the various IL Departments writing the final rules and regulations to ensure the inclusion of a standardized confidential electronic database system, tracking patient’s use of specific strains with specific cannabinoid constituents and their effectiveness and any side effects in the treatment of specific symptoms, syndromes and illnesses as allowed in IL. This IL Community-Based Clinical Cannabis Research Network (or ILCBCCRN) would permit both independent evaluation of different models of Cannabinoid Medicine in IL, but also when pooled for all participating patients and their caregivers, allow for longitudinal observational research needed for the establishment of optimal treatment protocols in this emerging field.
VP for Community Based Research History of this subject
American Academy of Cannabinoid Medicine
August 2008 – Present (5 years 11 months) National
Co-author press releases and educational materials concerning Medicinal Cannabis research, policy reform, and scientific application to health and safety of patients. Continue to raise awareness and interest in the urgent need to develop a North American Community-Based Clinical Cannabinoid Research Network (NA-CBCCRN) for development of evidence-based treatment recommendations that incorporate the rapidly expanding scientific understanding of where/how specific human endocannabinoid receptors work and how they can be specifically activated or de-activated to reduce negative symptoms and enhance their therapeutic properties, thus advancing the application of cannabinoid medicine to improvement of human health despite Federal prohibition of cannabis as dangerous narcotic drug with no known or potential therapeutic uses. This prohibition continues despite the growing scientific knowledge demonstrating that cannabis and specific (endo)cannabinoid receptor agonists have enormous potential in both the treatment of CNS disorders (multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, migraine) and the modulation of harmful inflammatory processes causing severe and disabling conditions such as chronic cancer-related pain, muscle spasticity, Crohn’s Disease and peripheral neuropathy.
Wrote “Ask Dr MedicalCannabis.MD” column for the largest US circulation newspaper for medical cannabis patients, caregivers and medication suppliers. Challenge of conveying complicated medical, research and policy issues to MC patients and their caregivers in 500 words or less.
Co-originator of idea and proponent of a NCBCCRN to enable scientific study of a prohibited
National Community-Based Clinical Cannabis Research Network (NCBCCRN)
January 2005 – Present (9 years 6 months)Civil Rights and Social Action
Since the conduct of double-blind randomized clinical trials (RCTs) of whole cannabis and it’s complex extracts has been difficult if not impossible to conduct in the US due to continued classification of cannabis as a Schedule I Narcotic and Catch-22s that have limited the supply of “legal” research cannabis to only studies supporting its continued classification as “one of the most addictive substances with no potential therapeutic value.” With the establishment of State regulated “legal” Medical Cannabis (MC) programs beginning in CA in 1998, we have seen regional and individual practitioner-based efforts to collect longitudinal observational data on the response of specific symptoms, syndromes and illness to MC treatment, beginning with the Society of Cannabinoid Clinicians (SCC) based in SF. Through the American Academy of Cannabinoid Medicine (AACM), Dr Ostrow and others saw the opportunity to develop a national network of Cannabinoid Medicine practitioners who, along with patients, caregivers, dispensaries and their many support & advocacy organizations would develop a community-based approach to the scientific study of cannabis treatment to provide data-based therapeutic guidelines.
Two other areas of Cannabinoid scientific investigation in the past 10-15 years have given the NaCBCCRN a level of validity & potential to yield science-based treatment protocols for whole cannabis and complex extracts: the elucidation of the 2 distinct human “endocannabinoid” receptor systems and their properties and distribution; and the development of reliable quantitative analytical techniques to determine the amounts of various cannabinoids in different “strains” of cannabis that can bind differentially to the two endocannabinoid receptors.
Illinois Community-Based Clinical Cannabis Research Network (IL CBCCRN)
March 2011 – Present (3 years 4 months)Health
The advances described above give us the potential to actually measure the potency at the CBR1 and CBR2 systems of medical cannabis products being ingested by patients. And, with the establishment of the first State-wide MC program in IL that requires all patients to obtain their medicine from licensed dispensaries, we have the opportunity to establish the first State-wide “closed loop” MC system that can collect standardized data on the production, distribution, recommendation and follow-up of ALL patients with qualifying conditions using specific cannabis formulations for their specific qualifying conditions. We have proposed to the IL MC Program that adoption of a uniform system of data collection be required by all licensed MC cultivators/product producers, and the licensed dispensaries. By collecting this data on all patients in the System, as well as from the individual patients and their recommending and follow-up PHCPs, we will be able to anonymously pool all their longitudinal data. The analysis of this data will serve two essential purposes- the necessary evaluation of the IL MC Program within 2-3 years of operation to determine whether and how to re-authorize this “pilot” endeavor; and to test the ability of an IL CBCCRN to provide scientific data for the formulation of optimal treatment protocols that will further CM as a valid medical specialty that combines the best aspects of science, patient responsiveness, and destigmatization. As both the State of Washington and the merged SCC/AACM have expressed interest in collaboration with an IL CBCCRN, we will also be able to test, over time, the cost and effectiveness of different models of MC delivery and evaluation.
PI of the National Study of “Veterans, Medical Marijuana, and PTSS”
A group of experienced clinical researchers and educational specialists advocating research to establish the therapeutic utility of medicinal cannabis in otherwise refractory syndromes such as post traumatic stress conditions are developing a national longitudinal observational study of up to 1000 participants to establish whether Veterans suffering from PTSS receive benefit from medical marijuana treatment. A top notch team of researchers, led by David G Ostrow, MD, PhD, will develop and guide the study. Initial planning phase support is being solicited from several Internet crowd sourcing organizations, and the study will collect data independent of any VAMC involvement to protect its objectivity and integrity. Beyond helping to answer the controversial question of whether or not cannabis is a useful and safe alternative treatment for PTSS among US Veterans, this study will be the first national community-based clinical cannabis treatment study and a “proof of concept” of the potential value of such studies in the absence of government or pharmaceutical support for whole cannabis’ scientific development.
Member, Advisory Board of IL Medical Cannabis Association
September 2013 – Present
We are responsible for advising persons and organizations applying for licenses to operate as growers/suppliers and/or dispensaries for the IL Medical Cannabis pilot program which will begin full operation shortly. My particular role is to ensure that standardized data collection is used at each supplier, dispensary, recommending physician’s office, etc. so that community-based observational research can be conducted on a state-wide and even national basis that can provide the science based treatment protocols needed to advance the clinical effectiveness of cannabinoid therapy for specific illnesses, symptoms and syndromes.
Methodological and Cannabinoid Research Consultant to the Medical Cannabis Industry
October 2013 – Present
Currently working with developers of first Integrative Health and Wellness Clinic that will provide highest level of both evaluation for medicinal cannabis treatment and overall wellness/holistic care for persons seeking recommendations for medical cannabis treatment in the Chicago area. By including AACM guidelines for physician evaluation and follow-up, as well as the standardized data collection system for evaluation over time of the response of specific symptoms to well characterized medical cannabis with specific amounts of CBR1 and CBR2 agonists, this Clinic will hopefully be a model for optimal diagnosis, recommendations and evaluation of response for the medical cannabis programs within the State of IL and nationally.
Please allow me to preface this reply with my sincere gratitude for your dedication to the efficacy and advancement of cannabinoid constituents as a viable curative, therapeutic and palliative medicine. Forward thinking MD’s and scientific researchers such as yourself truly are the real difference. Projects such as yours are the primary reason that our group is so intrigued by the continued developments of this space. You and your colleagues truly are the best among us. Thank you.