Government requires several layers of approval before researchers can study marijuana
Nearly half the states allow medical marijuana, but little is known about its long-term impact
“There’s just a few medications on the market that work, and even these can be inadequate,” Sisley said. “They end up getting stuck on eight, 10, 12 different medications, and after taking so many, suddenly they’re like zombies.”
Some of these patients though were starting to feel better. They also seemed much more present. She wanted to know what was making a difference. They told her they found an alternative to all those medicines.
They were self-medicating with marijuana.
“I was really stunned and more and more patients were coming out of the shadows and disclosing to me that they were having some useful experiences with the marijuana plant,” Sisley said.
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She appreciated the progress they said they were making, but like any good scientist she didn’t want to rely on anecdotal evidence. She wanted documented proof, clinical trials of large patient populations that run in the gold standard of a peer-reviewed journal that marijuana was the right approach to treating PTSD, or any other ailment for that matter. People use it to treat a variety of medical issues, such as multiple sclerosis, arthritis, epilepsy, glaucoma, HIV, chronic pain, Alzheimer’s, cancer and others.
With medical marijuana legal in nearly half of the states, more doctors are wondering what impact this drug really has on people. They ask for dosage information. They want to know about its long-term impact on patients.
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Sisley looked for answers to these questions in medical research, but she didn’t see much. When she decided to do the studies herself and applied for federal approval, she was met with miles of red tape and resistance — like many other researchers before her.
That’s because marijuana is one of the tightest-controlled substances under federal law. The U.S. government considers it a Schedule I drug, meaning the Drug Enforcement Administration considers it to have no medical value. It’s right up there with heroin and LSD. To do research on marijuana, scientists need approval from several federal departments. And that approval is rare.
Most marijuana studies focus on the harm caused by the plant. The studies on its medicinal qualities are small, early stage or observational at best. “Mainstream …Read More