Dr. Ostrow has taken his many decades of experience in the development of valid survey measures of “sensitive behaviors” from patients and their caregivers to the development of a North American standardized clinical cannabis research and evaluation database system. 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 illnesses 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 North American CBCCERN 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 preferentially to the two types of endocannabinoid receptors. More recently, expanding MC research has expanded this view to include other subcellular and intersynaptic processes that may modulate both the upstream and downstream effects of specific CB receptor agonist and antagonist binding. While animal and in vitro studies of the pathogenesis of these myriad effects continue to open up new potential sites of action of cannabinoid and terpenoid components of whole cannabis and its extracts, traditional single or even dual active compound comparisons to placebos will be too time consuming and inefficient to target the best complex mixtures of cannabinoid and terpenoid for expensive clinical human trials. The establishment of an NA CBCCERN will provide researchers, patients and caregivers alike and open access database for analysis and modeling of promising complex formulations of cannabis extracts for potential human clinical trials based on both subjective and more objective measures collected through a large number of participants in “closed loop” MC programs.