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One doctor vs. the DEA: Inside the battle to study marijuana in America

Early in Dr. Sue Sisley’s medical career, military veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder told her that smoking marijuana prevented nightmares and helped them sleep. Sisley, a primary care physician and psychiatrist in Scottsdale, Arizona, who has treated vets for two decades, said she was initially skeptical of her patients’ claims, but their families vouched that pot was helping with their symptoms.

“Even though I was dubious, they never really gave up,” Sisley said of the patients. “They were so relentless.”

About a decade ago, Sisley decided to study pot’s psychiatric effects to see if she could prove what her patients were experiencing. But, because of marijuana’s federal status as an illegal drug, this turned out to be far from a simple task.

Since then, Sisley has been fired from her job at the University of Arizona; lost a study partner at another university; and had the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs block her attempts to recruit patients for research. By 2016, her scientific study was underway through the Scottsdale Research Institute, and she finally had federally approved cannabis in hand to provide to 76 military vets.

But she was not happy with the weed she received. [Read more at NBC News]

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