About the Health Research Institute
Scientific Advisory Board
Founded in 1983, Health Research Institute (HRI) is a non-profit, tax-exempt organization dedicated to health promotion, education, and research in a manner that benefits the public at large. Toward this goal, HRI works to increase knowledge and understanding of plant and fungi medicine. Over the last several years, HRI's Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) has been examining the cannabis plant and its derivatives. Through an emerging collaborative effort with university and biotech researchers, industry and technology leaders, and horticultural specialists, HRI is positioned to contribute to the scientific data base that will assist regulatory agencies in establishing safety standards and quality control, and assist state governments in adopting laws that insure the safe use of cannabis products.
Through horticultural and clinical research, HRI is working to support informed regulatory processes while helping expand research-based knowledge of Cannabis. HRI is paving a path for the safe and effective applications of Cannabis products by providing a clear and comprehensive body of knowledge of the dosing, administration routes, metabolism, excretion, and the potential benefits and risks.
Under the direction of Dr. Gerry Lehrburger, HRI has brought together a strong and diverse Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) to assist in the development and implementation of natural products research projects. HRI draws on the expertise of SAB researchers, clinicians, and industry leaders, both locally and across North America. HRI is poised to position Oregon at the forefront of quality cannabis research and development.
Horticultural & Medical Research
Chronic pain is the stated medical condition for which the vast majority of patients enroll in the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program (OMMP). Driven by patient need, and by a commitment to interrupt the alarming pattern of escalating narcotic overuse and abuse, HRI elected to focus initial research efforts on the safety and efficacy of cannabis in managing chronic pain. In its current design, the pain study employs a "mixed method" approach where three distinct phases and protocols are utilized to provide a comprehensive assessment of the effectiveness of medical cannabis.
In the first phase, currently underway, HRI is compiling and reviewing the international literature pertaining to chronic pain and cannabinoid receptor mechanisms, toward the endpoint of a meta-analysis. This literature review and quantitative data analysis will be published in a peer-reviewed scientific journal. It is hopeful that the study will assist in developing material and methods for future clinical trials. Intel's Health and Life Sciences division is collaborating with HRI's SAB in this monumental data mining operation.
The second phase consists of qualitative interviews, conducted online, with current OMMP cardholders who are treating chronic pain with cannabis products. Where applicable, a detailed past history assessment of previous and current narcotic use will be explored in an effort that compares the effectiveness, alone or synergistic, and adverse effects of both treatment choices. It is HRI's hope that the data generated from in-depth interviews will guide the development of clinical trials for the third project phase.
During the third phase, HRI will work with industry partners to design and implement observational studies to investigate the effectiveness of cannabis in reducing or eliminating narcotic use for chronic pain. Proprietary pain assessment tools that objectify the severity of pain will be employed in an effort to remove the variables of chemical or lifestyle dependency. Project collaborator Entia Biosciences will assist HRI in performing observational studies and in connecting HRI investigators with state and federal agencies that are also engaged in pain management studies.
Anticipated future research projects include the development of en vitro studies focusing on the cannabinoid receptors, as well as further meta-analytical and clinical research projects regarding other conditions commonly treated with medical Cannabis such as glaucoma and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). HRI will continue to review clinical trials and papers generated by other institutions.