Health care providers should prepare to have evidence-informed discussions about cannabis as more patients show interest in use for medical or recreational purposes. At the same time, high-quality research is greatly needed to fill in the gaps in our understanding of the health effects of cannabis.
STEM is an independent, methodologically rigorous, and updated cannabis evidence resource for the health care sector that synthesizes what is known from research and what is left to learn about the health effects of cannabis.
The 2 main goals of STEM are to:
- Empower health care providers to have evidence-based discussions about cannabis use with their patients; and
- Identify specific research gaps and highlight ongoing research to help researchers design high-yield studies that advance the field of clinical cannabis research.
STEM meets these goals through a series of living systematic reviews on important cannabis-related health care topics. We developed a registered ongoing studies section of our website to help researchers find what others are doing in cannabis research. The website includes brief, clinically focused materials designed for busy clinicians, information about cannabis and research policy in the US, and a section highlighting newsworthy developments about cannabis research and its health effects.
Please note that STEM is focused on clinical care and does not generally include information from preclinical or animal studies.
Living Systematic Review Methods
Systematic reviews are the most comprehensive tool we have to describe what is known and unknown about the clinical effectiveness of a given health care intervention. These also allow an individual to understand how a single piece of research fits into the larger body of existing research.
Provider and Patient Engagement
We surveyed and interviewed primary care providers to better understand clinicians’ gaps in knowledge of and what their educational priorities are on cannabis. Ongoing interviews with patients who use cannabis give us their perspective, which may better prepare health care providers to have comfortable, evidence-informed discussions about cannabis. These studies help us prioritize STEM topics, create clinician-facing educational materials, and ensure we are presenting information in a rigorous and clinically useful way.
Technical Expert Panel
We have convened 2 Technical Expert Panels (TEPs). Six individuals meet with us bimonthly to advise on topic prioritization, web development, technical/scientific details, development of clinician-facing materials, and ensure the information is useful to clinicians and researchers. This multidisciplinary group includes: