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Monday, August 18, 2014

As Pot Laws Relax, Restrictions On Research Still Tight

A worker cultivates a special strain of medical marijuana known as Charlotte's Web inside a greenhouse, in a remote spot in the mountains west of Colorado Springs, Colo., Feb. 7, 2014. (Brennan Linsley/AP)

A worker cultivates a special strain of medical marijuana known as Charlotte’s Web inside a greenhouse, in a remote spot in the mountains west of Colorado Springs, Colo., Feb. 7, 2014. (Brennan Linsley/AP)

Medical marijuana is now legal in nearly half of all U.S. states, but doing research on the drug is harder than one might think. Because of federal laws and regulations, it can take years to get the approval necessary to start a study.

University of Arizona doctor Sue Sisley says she was fired for her research on marijuana. Sisley was leading a federally-approved study on post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and medical marijuana, when the university cut ties with her.

A university spokesman says the decision was not politically motivated, and the school wants to continue the research on its campus. The case highlights the complexity and politics of pot research.

Sisley speaks to Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson.

Guest

  • Suzanne A. Sisley, MD, researcher and clinical assistant professor at the University of Arizona. Her contract ends in September 2014.

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Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

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