Dr. Sue Sisley is known for her work in studying the effects of marijuana on different medical ailments such as PTSD. Her company, Scottsdale Research Institute, has filed a lawsuit against the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) in an attempt to have their application to grow marijuana for research purposes processed.
The suit alleges that the DEA’s stance on using marijuana grown only at the University of Mississippi for research purposes has created a monopoly, Westword reports. Sisley indicates that UM’s marijuana is low-grade and offers little variety.
Sisley pointed out that the marijuana provided to researchers consists of indica and sativa strains mixed together, which creates issues when attempting to determine how a specific marijuana strain affects a particular health condition/symptom.
“Most scientists end up with this mishmash of different strains (including stem sticks, leaves, etc.) — all of it seems to get thrown into a grinder in an overzealous effort to standardize the study drug batches for clinical trials,” said Sisley. “I’m arguing that by doing that, they’re overprocessing the plant and decimating the natural efficacy contained in the flowering tops. Further, in controlled trials, we issue patients the study drug by weight.”
In 2016, the DEA said it was going to allow more people to grow cannabis for research purposes. Since that announcement, no additional licenses have been issued. The DEA has received over 30 applications from parties interested in growing marijuana for research.
Sisley stated, “Maintaining only one federally legal drug supply for any clinical trials in the U.S. has been a huge impediment to research, because it’s not allowing scientists access to necessary options. We can’t just study from one supplier who seems to be limited from purchasing new genetics. And when there’s a monopoly for this many decades, it tends to breed apathy. There’s no real drive to respond to the public, to be responsive to the demands of scientists, no real need to innovate in the direction of what patients want.”
A DEA spokesperson says that it is “still working through the process and those applications remain under review.”
Robert Jordan/University of Mississippi via AP