The Daya Foundation and Knopf Laboratories, two Chilean institutions specializing in the therapeutic use of marijuana, presented Tuesday their joint project for the first Latin American study on the use of medical marijuana to ease the pain of breast and lung cancer.
"The clinical trial is designed to test the efficacy and security of a cannabis-based pharmaceutical for patients with breast or lung cancer. It is a very relevant study because it means Chile will be leading the way to the democratization of medical marijuana," Ana Maria Gazmuri, president of the Daya Foundation, told EFE.
Gazmuri said the study will take one year with a sample of 186 cancer patient, of whom half will come from the same foundation and the other half from the La Florida community, some 20 kilometers (12 miles) southeast of the Chilean capital.
"These patients will be given the cannabis-based pharmaceutical for 12 months. During the first phase, half will receive a placebo and the other half the phytopharmaceutical. After three months, if we see that it works, we'll give it to everyone, even to those who previously had only been given the false drug," she said.
The Daya Foundation president said that applications to take part in the study are still open and that all who collaborate in the project will get a year of free treatment.
"If all goes well, we should be able to demonstrate that this phytopharmaceutical is good for easing cancer pain, improving patients' quality of life, their ability to sleep, their appetite and their mood in general," Gazmuri said.
Jacqueline Ruz, development director at Knopf Laboratories, said the mission of her company in this process is to determine the active components of the plant to be able to derive their pharmaceutical form.
"Once this process if finished, we have to obtain a product that meets the quality standards necessary to help patients improve their quality of life," she said.
Ruz announced that besides treating the pain of breast and lung cancer, her lab is experimenting with medical marijuana to find solutions for other illnesses.
"Cancer is the second-greatest cause of death in Chile, so the estimated consumption is that of an enormous population. We are also working to formulate other medications, namely for fibrositis and refractory epilepsy," Ruz said.