Acceptance for medical marijuana is growing among people who swear by marijuana's power to relieve their ills. Older people are choosing marijuana for their aches and pains, parents are moving to states where marijuana is legal for children with seizure disorders, even pet owners are using pot to ease their pup's pain. It's currently legal in 28 states with several more on deck.
Researchers nationwide are eager to unleash the potential of marijuana. But the government doesn't make it easy. It's still classified as a highly addictive drug with no medical benefit, despite growing evidence to the contrary.
Little has changed since former President Obama's 2016 policy that promised to open up research at universities. Despite 16 applications from interested institutions, no licenses have been granted in the intervening months.
Yet research is moving forward despite the barriers. Concerns that demand is outpacing the scientific research needed to determine long-term safety and efficacy inspires doctors to move forward. This hour, we talk to four researchers on the cutting edge of new research.
- James Feeney - Director of trauma and surgical research, Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center
- Staci Gruber - Director, Cognitive and Clinical Neuroimaging Core; Director, Marijuana Investigations for Neuroscientific Discovery; associate professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School
- Godfrey Pearlson - Director, Olin Neuropsychiatry Research Center, Institute of Living, Hartford Hospital and Healthcare; professor of Psychiatry and Neuroscience, Yale School of Medicine
- Suzanne Sisley - Internist, president of Scottsdale Research Institute and former clinical assistant professor at the University of Arizona College of Medicine
Colin McEnroe and Chion Wolf contributed to this show, which originally aired March 22, 2017.