Phoenix Business Journal: Ousted UA Professor Finds Joint for Medical Marijuana Study

Summary: Phoenix Business Journal reports on MAPS’ upcoming clinical study of smoked marijuana for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in veterans, highlighting recent progress finding clinic space and the final federal government approvals needed before the study can begin. "The federal government has agreed to grow six pounds of medical marijuana in various strains to be studied on U.S. military veterans suffering from PTSD,” reports Angela Gonzales of Phoenix Business Journal.

Originally appearing here.

Despite losing her job as a professor at University of Arizona, Dr. Sue Sisley is not giving up on her quest to conduct clinical trials to see how medical marijuana might help U.S. military veterans suffering from post traumatic stress disorder.

She was fired in 2014 from her faculty position at UA — the school where she earned her medical degree — when she got caught in the crosshairs of a political battle over medical marijuana in Arizona.

With funding from the Santa Cruz, California-based Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, Sisley was set to continue her research, once she found a place to conduct her study.

But ask any medical marijuana dispensary owner and they will tell you how difficult it’s been to find someone willing to rent space or lend money for their businesses.

“We couldn’t find a single landlord in the Valley to rent to us,” she said.

MAPS received a $2.1 million grant from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment — funding that will be used for the clinical trials that Sisley will conduct in Phoenix and a similar study that Ryan Vandrey will conduct at Johns Hopkins University.

She has about $4,000 a month to rent clinical space.

“We weren’t asking for charity,” she said. “We wanted a simple place.”

The only place willing to rent out space to the medical doctor was a medical marijuana growth facility in north Phoenix.

And now that she solidified the clinic space, she’s back to the waiting game.

The federal government has agreed to grow six pounds of medical marijuana in various strains to be studied on U.S. military veterans suffering from PTSD.

The National Institute of Drug Abuse will sell the cannabis to the Scottsdale Research Institute, where Sisley is medical director and principal investigator of the study site in Phoenix.

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration is involved, requiring Sisley to set up the clinic according to certain specifications, including exactly how the marijuana is stored.

Upon DEA approval, NIDA can sell the pot to the study group.

Her plan is to enroll 38 U.S. military veterans suffering from PTSD, who will smoke four strains of marijuana (not to exceed two grams per day) to target PTSD symptoms ranging from nightmares and flashbacks to insomnia and daytime anxiety.

They will be part of a randomized trial that includes a placebo control strain that looks and smells like marijuana but where the cannabinoids have been washed out with alcohol.