Creating Research Initiatives and Educating Patients at a New Medical Cannabis Research Center in Utah

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A medical cannabis research center in Utah aims to provide patient education through its projects and collaborations.

Recently, the University of Utah Health expanded on the goals and focus of its newly established Center for Medical Cannabis Research (CMCR) (1). According to its website, due to a need for more information and education for patients and their providers on the benefits and risks of medical cannabis, the Center for Medical Cannabis Research (CMCR) was established in July 2023 after the passing of House Bill 230, which funds the CMCR (2). The mission of the CMCR is to “promote methodologically sound research evaluating the safety and efficacy of cannabis and cannabis products used with therapeutic intent.” (2).

Medical cannabis had been legal in Utah since 2018 and according to the CMCR, each month in Utah thousands of patients are approved for a medical cannabis card (1). “We keep hearing from providers that they just don’t have enough information to comfortably recommend this for patients,” stated Jennifer Dailey-Provost, who was the chief sponsor for House Bill 230 (1). “What we ultimately need is reliable, evidence-based research information on the medication that we are already offering to patients in the state of Utah.”


According to Jerry Cochran, interim director of the CMCR, research will range from the chemical characterization of cannabis components to clinical trials, particularly those that seek to ascertain conditions that are affected by medical cannabis (1). The center is also planning a DEA-approved site to cultivate its own cannabis (1).

Patient and provider education will be a focus, explained Valerie Ahanonu, CMCR senior manager (1). “We want to ensure that people are having conversations that are research-based about how people utilize their medicine,” stated Ahanonu (1). Designing educational materials, establishing a database, and funding grants for future projects are also goals of the CMCR (1,2).

See more of our news coverage of cannabis and higher learning and cannabis education and certification opportunities.


  1. New Center for Medical Cannabis Research To Bridge Knowledge Gaps From Bench To Bedside. University of Utah Health. November 21, 2023.
  2. Center for Medical Cannabis Research (accessed Dec 7, 2023).