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Lawmaker proposes designating Moffitt Cancer Center for medical marijuana research

Posted at 6:03 PM, Mar 07, 2017

Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa could become a statewide hub for medical marijuana research and education. A state senator is proposing the idea hoping to provide better insight on how medicinal cannabis is dosed and used.

Emily Phillips is proud a mom of four, but for years she's struggled with anxiety and panic attacks. Then last summer after having her son Elliot, a diagnosis of cervical cancer.

"That scares me. I want to do anything and everything I can to mitigate that and give myself a long healthy life," said Phillips.

She ended up having a hysterectomy, but continues to live with the virus that caused her cancer and is still at risk for getting other conditions from it. Prescribed medications left her with terrible side effects.

"My doctor is telling me that there's no medicinal value in cannabis and that people just want to get high," said Phillips.

Now that medical cannabis is legal in Florida, she's gotten a patient ID and says it's been life-changing.

"Being able to take a medication every single day--just like any other anti depressant or anxiety medication, I'm good," Phillips said.

But she still worries about the lack of regulation on what goes into medical cannabis to ensure it's safe and would like to see more studies about what conditions it can be used to treat.

That's why a Florida lawmaker's proposing that Tampa's Moffitt Cancer Center become a statewide research facility aimed at finding those answers and educating the public.

"I think it's wonderful. The more research the better," Phillips said.

Moffitt agrees, saying in a statement that, "It is important Florida's top experts in the medical and scientific communities come together to determine the best way to ensure proper and safe use of medicinal cannabis among our citizens."

Now the state's legislature will have to decide how to move forward.

Here is Moffitt Cancer Center's full statement on Senator Bill Galvano's Bill to Create the Coalition for Medicinal Cannabis Research and Education at Moffitt Cancer Center:

"Given the new state amendment regarding medical cannabis, it is important that Florida's top experts in the medical and scientific communities come together to determine the best way to ensure the proper and safe use of medicinal cannabis among our citizens. Moffitt has been recognized to lead the effort to establish this group of experts who will discuss standard practices and guidelines, and advise the Legislature, Governor and Surgeon General on a statewide plan for use and research. "

Here is Moffitt's statement on the cancer center's Policy on Prescribing Cannabis:

"Moffitt does not advocate the use of cannabis or preparations of cannabis by cancer patients during active treatment for cancer. Moffitt also does not advocate physician prescription for cannabis other than the two FDA approved medications, dronabinol (schedule III), and nabilone (schedule II) for indications for cancer treatment. While Moffitt does not clinically support the use of non-FDA approved cannabis derivatives, Moffitt strongly advocates for additional research to validate the efficacy and safety of cannabis products in the treatment of cancer and other diseases."

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