Scientists and psychologists join forces in call for more cannabis research

Published Apr 13, 2019 01:11 p.m. ET

Canada has been enjoying legal marijuana for more than five months now. Some are finding it strange that a plant product can be purchased entirely legally on one side of the border while remaining demonized on the other. Others are perfectly fine with the way things are and feel that medical marijuana is available by prescription for those who need it most as it should be. No matter which side of the debate you agree with, there has now been an official movement including both scientists and psychologists who are calling for more extensive cannabis research as well as publicly shaming the government for withholding hundreds of Americans applications for marijuana cultivation.

The APA (American Psychological Association) released a public statement in regards to a letter that was written by Arthur C.Evans who is the President of APA. The written letter called out the DOJ (Department of Justice) who have refused to answer many applicants who had applied as far back as 2017 for permission to cultivate due to the possession of a medical marijuana license. In it, he said that it is impossible to deny the therapeutic benefits of the cannabinoids that are produced by both cannabis and hemp plants. The APA is an organization that works with 118400 consultant, educators, researchers, students, and clinicians who believe that cannabis research is essential to keep up with the range of marijuana and hemp derived products that are already flourishing on the medicinal and recreational markets. Arthur has also said that FDA approved pot-based products are the safest way for consumers to enjoy the benefits of marijuana without the adverse effects, but more cannabis research is needed to design such a product.

The MAPS (Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies) is another organization that has joined the critical movement in applying pressure on the government for further cannabis research. The study that was most recently completed by MAPS focused on many medical conditions and physical ailments medical marijuana may be of benefit to. They found that every single medical condition trialed showed stellar results in raising the patients comfort levels and limiting or sometimes even eliminating symptoms such as pain, seizures, inflammation, lack of appetite, nausea, insomnia, and more. The Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies official stance is that pharmaceutical grade medical marijuana products need to be made accessible to anyone who might benefit from consuming them.

The University of Mississippi is allowed to operate cannabis research with an exemption granted by the NIDA (National Institute on Drug Abuse) and are the only legal producers of marijuana in the region. They have also spoken up and have a history of forcing change such as what happened in August of 2016 when a spotlight placed by NIDA paved the way for a transition into a new normal for the cannabis industry. The DEA caved and announced that they would grant permission for marijuana growers to apply for the ability to cultivate and sell for cannabis research purposes only. In 2018 they produced their very first plant subjects using precise techniques to maintain consistent genetics. Their researchers are craving new genetics and hope to be able to offer more unique and diverse strains for scientists and others with formal interest have more opportunity to study their effects in depth.

Dr. Sue Sisley is another highly recognized individual to contribute to the movement that calls for far more rigorous cannabis research. Sue works out of Scottsville in Arizona and held the position of the principal investigator on one of MAPS prior studies that focused on medical marijuana and its effects on patients with PTSD. She worked with 76 American veterans that were scheduled to take place over six months and ended shortly after six years. Dr. Sisley says that it took just over 20 months for her to receive the medical marijuana shipment from the UOM (University of Mississippi). She felt the study failed all of the patients involved as well as the American people due to the extensive wait, resulting in a powdered shadow of what was once cannabis, rather than a good fresh quality product which might have been more effective. Though her cannabis research did highlight some of the many benefits of cannabinoids, it was impossible to measure the effects with degraded doses.

All these scientists, doctors, psychologists, and cannabis researchers have put enormous pressure on the government to make the scientific research aspect of medical marijuana a priority going forward. The sheer inefficiency of the system is holding back the country from achieving a similar status to Canada who already has a well-established medical marijuana market in place and is also steadily working on a legal recreational one. American consumers are going to gain access to these products either way, and it is essential that the government fund enough cannabis research to keep pace with the changing times.  

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