For many decades, one of the strongest arguments for the legalization of cannabis has been the potential medicinal benefits derived from the plant. What we do know is that within the human body exists the Endocannabinoid System (ECS), a group of receptors throughout the brain and central nervous system that respond to compounds from the cannabis plant. The issue, however, is that there are over 400 natural compounds and at least 138 identified cannabinoids, all having various effects on the body.
To date, scientific research in the U.S. has been focused on isolating the various cannabinoids for treatment. Meanwhile, the medical and scientific community’s understanding of the whole cannabis plant has largely been reliant on anecdotal evidence and observational studies due to various regulatory and political barriers.
No one knows this more than Dr. Sue Sisley, one of the leading medical scientists and advocates for wider education on the effects of whole-plant cannabis. Dr. Sisley is a leading voice in the medicinal cannabis community, and her work with military veterans dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) has been recognized as groundbreaking, as evidenced by her being named as Researcher of the Year by Americans for Safe Access at the National Medical Cannabis Unity Conference in Washington, D.C. earlier this year.
But her work at times has also put her at the center of the legalization debate. For instance, after nearly a decade working in various capacities at the University of Arizona, the school terminated the relationship and her research. As part of our Future of Cannabisproject, Equities.com had the opportunity to speak with Dr. Sisley in an extended interview to discuss the obstacles she’s faced, what she’s doing now to further her research with the support of Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), and her thoughts on the advocacy of cannabis legalization.