Coalition Calls for Sickle Cell Cannabis Clinical Trial
Normal blood cells (left) and the blood cells in Sickle cell disease, which do not flow through the circulatory system smoothly. Credit: Darryl Leja, NHGRI.
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In recognition of World Sickle Cell Day, a coalition led by the Sickle Cell Foundation of Georgia (SCFG), announced a fund-raising campaign to launch the first clinical trials investigating the efficacy of cannabis oil for pain associated with Sickle Cell Disease. The coalition includes Biotech, Inc. and the Phoenix Tears Foundation.
"We urge the Sickle Cell community, our friends, and allies to join in supporting the coalition as we search for alternative treatments for those battling this painful and sometimes fatal condition," said Deb McGhee McCrary, SCFG President & CEO. "These trials will fully explore the pain relief properties of medical cannabis as an alternative to highly addictive opioids."
The Georgia Legislature made history when Sickle Cell Disease was added to the list of maladies approved for Medical Cannabis opening the door for clinical trials. This is the first clinical trial of its kind in the nation. To assist in this effort, the public can make donations through the SCFG website www.sicklecellga.org/Donate.
"This is important work for the thousands who suffer with SCD," added Phoenix Tears Foundation President Janet Rosendahl (Sweeney), Ph.D. "We look forward to bringing our years of research with Cannabis to those suffering from Sickle Cell Anemia."
Babies born with sickle cell anemia can experience painful swelling of the hands and feet (Dactylitis) which requires medication and hospitalization. In children such as Kendryln Pitts, Georgia's SCFG Poster child, joint pain, swelling and limitation of motion occur frequently. As adults, most sickle cell patients experience pain crises requiring hospitalization, blood transfusions, and opioid painkillers.
To date, the only cure for SCD is a bone marrow transplant, which is costly and out of reach for most patients. According to Biotech President Dr. Jacob Savage, "Pain control represents the most practical way to ensure a better quality of life for sickle cell patients. Medical cannabis holds great hope as a non-addictive alternative to opioids."
Led by Biotech Research Laboratories, The Sickle Cell Medical Cannabis Clinical Trial will cost an estimated $250,000 for Phase I.