University of Arizona researcher hopes to study marijuana and its effects on PTSD
Doctor plans to lobby lawmakers to allow on-campus research
Reporter: Justin Schecker
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - A University of Arizona researcher wants to spark change in order to conduct an on-campus study of medical marijuana and its effects on Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
In February 2012, Gov. Jan Brewer signed a bill passed by the Arizona House of Representatives that made it illegal to have medical marijuana on state-school campuses. The UA used that as grounds to ban Dr. Sue Sisley's research.
Sisley has formed the Americans for Scientific Freedom, a political action group in Arizona that will raise funds to lobby lawmakers to change the law so she can go forward with her research.
"She's very passionate about this cause, she's very thorough in what she does and we support her efforts in this area completely," said Ken Sobel, the manager of one of Tucson's first medical marijuana dispensaries, The Green Halo.
Research has shown cannabis can treat neuromuscular diseases like multiple-sclerosis. Sobel told Nine On Your Side Sisely wants to prove it can help people suffering from PTSD.
"Well that's the Catch-22," Sobel said. "We need to do this research so that we can prove just like the Israelis have, that this medicine is good for these particular symptoms and conditions."
"And we need to do that research so the veterans, our returning heroes, can have that available to them," Sobel added.
Not allowing the testing goes against a long standing tradition of medical research at universities, Sobel said.
"Just doing the clinical trials and testing is something that's been time honored in this country, for as long as we've had an FDA for example, so its puzzling people would oppose that kind of research," he said.
Sobel told Nine On Your Side on the phone she believes the university setting is really the only safe environment where she can conduct her study.
The UA has released the following statement about its ban of on-campus medical marijuana research.
"Last year, the governor signed a bill banning medical marijuana on Arizona university campuses. Our policy is to comply with state law, which would prohibit conducting research using medical marijuana on institutional property. The University would be supportive of amending the statute to allow for federally approved medical marijuana research at the UA."