Dr. Sue Sisley responds to an earlier AZ Central editorial echoing a misleading statement about the National Institute on Drug Abuse’s stance on medical marijuana research. Dr. Sisley points out NIDA’s refusal to provide research-approved marijuana to three separate FDA-approved studies, clarifying that NIDA continues to block research intended to develop the whole marijuana plant into a medicine.
Regarding “Busting medical-pot study myth” (Opinions, Dec. 2):
Yavapai County Attorney Sheila Polk echoed a misleading statement from the National Institute on Drug Abuse website that NIDA “permits or funds studies on therapeutic benefits of marijuana.”
A 1999 Health and Human Services Department guidance forbids NIDA from selling marijuana for research seeking to develop it into an Food and Drug Administration-approved medicine. NIDA is the sole legal provider of marijuana for research in the U.S. NIDA has denied marijuana to all three FDA-approved studies seeking to develop the whole plant into a prescription medicine, preventing them from happening.
The National Cancer Institute study cited by Ms. Polk was on isolated cannabinoids, not the marijuana plant. Our study of marijuana for post-traumatic stress disorder in U.S. veterans was approved by the FDA but has been frozen for two years due to NIDA’s refusal to sell us marijuana.
We resubmitted the protocol on Oct. 24, after also receiving approval from the University of Arizona Institutional Review Board. We are waiting for a response.