Published on June 1st, 2015 | by News Feed
Medical Marijuana Researcher Barred From Lecture in Phoenix
Dr. Sue Sisley has been working for years to study how marijuana can help military veterans overcome posttraumatic stress disorder. Now she is moving forward and recruiting troops to participate in her next study and she needs the help of medical professionals to refer PTSD patients to her trials. She has managed to get approved from the FDA, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and the National Institute on Drug Abuse, but this week she encountered a new problem. The Phoenix Veterans Affairs have blocked her from giving an important lecture to medical professionals.
Sisley was planning to address medical staff at the Phoenix VA, but now the leaders have told her she cannot give her lecture after all. Sisley was frustrated because the lecture was important step to recruit participants in her study.
“This is a study design that is getting underway this summer, and we need to screen hundreds and hundreds of military veterans in order to find the optimal 38 vets who will actually be enrolled in the study,” Sisley said. “They have the golden opportunity to refer military veterans to a federally legal study.”
However, the Phoenix VA blamed federal law for banning Sisley’s lecture. “Since we are a federal agency, we follow federal law,” The VA said in a statement. “Federal law classifies marijuana as a Schedule 1 drug under the Controlled Substances Act, and as such, VA health care providers are prohibited from completing forms or offering recommendations or opinions on participating in a medical marijuana program.”
Interestingly, Sisley was welcome to give a lecture at the Phoenix VA in 2012, but a spokesman dismissed the new ban as “administration changes”. Sisley believes these claims are bogus and since she has approval on a federal level to conduct her study, she thinks the VA is simply choosing not to work with her. “I think it is really unconscionable that the VA is suppressing vital scientific information,” she said.
Do you think American troops with PTSD should have legal access to medical marijuana? Should studies like this be accepted and promoted nationwide?