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Denver Issues Medical Marijuana Research And Development License For Alzheimer's

DENVER (CBS4) - The City of Denver has issued its first license that's specifically for medical marijuana research and development. Med Pharm received the license Tuesday night, to begin examining the effects of marijuana on Alzheimer's disease.

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"It's really exciting," explained Dr. Tyrell Towle, the Director of Chemistry and Research at Med Pharm. "We're finally doing research that we should have been doing decades ago, quite frankly."

Med Pharm's CEO Albert Gutierrez said this opens the door to many future opportunities on understanding how medical marijuana can help patients.

"We really want to understand how these Cannabinoids and the compounds we put together can help people," he told CBS4's Makenzie O'Keefe.

The study will first have to be approved by the state, but the team already has a plan. Dr. Towle said they will host a placebo-randomized trial with 150 Alzheimer's patients. A group of the patients will receive an oral cannabis compound once a day.

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"We'll be giving caregivers surveys," Dr. Towle said. "The caregivers of these patients will be filling out are they sleeping better, are they easier to deal with, are they experiencing less agitation, are they maybe forgetting fewer names."

He said in addition, they will be checking blood for inflammatory biomarkers, and monitoring patient brain scans.

"We'll be monitoring that throughout the study so that we can see if the symptoms that are improving, are correlating to an improvement of blood flow in certain areas of the brain," he explained.

The City of Denver's Executive Director of Excise and Licenses, Ashley Kilroy, said this first of its kind licensing could have big impacts.

"We are excited for the possibilities for this type of medical research to find effective research for a whole host of illnesses," Kilroy said. "Also we really see this license-type in particular, a license that could attract some of the best and brightest to Denver to attract this type of work."

Gutierrez said there are no studies like this going on anywhere else in the country, and they are thrilled the city and state have helped to pave the path to important research opportunities.

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"We really have high hopes on what the Cannabinoids and the compounds are able to do for patients," he said. "We've heard all the antidotal evidence, and so we want to take that research on."

Med Pharm said they will soon submit their plan for the study to the state for approval to move forward. They also plan to study the effects of cannabis on cancer patients.

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