The Obama administration handed backers of medical marijuana a significant victory Friday, opening the way for a University of Arizona researcher to examine whether pot can help veterans cope with post-traumatic stress, a move that could lead to broader studies into potential benefits of the drug.
The Arizona study had long ago been sanctioned by the Food and Drug Administration, but under federal rules, such experiments can use marijuana only from a single, government-run farm in Mississippi. Researchers say that the agency which oversees the farm, the National Institute on Drug Abuse, has long been hostile to proposals aimed at examining possible benefits of the drug.
“This is a great day,” said the Arizona researcher, Suzanne A. Sisley, clinical assistant professor of psychology at the university’s medical school, who has been trying to get the green light for her study for three years. “The merits of a rigorous scientific trial have finally trumped politics.