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Fed Up with Federal Barriers, American Researchers Take Action

By Chloe Sommers

A couple of researchers from the University of New Mexico wrote a letter in Science magazine, of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), about the ridiculous hurdles medical researchers face when it comes to studying cannabis.

“Our report was just a short (but much overdue) opinion piece designed to inform the general medical and scientific communities as to some major problems with our research system here in the U.S.,” wrote one of the authors, Jacob Miguel Vigil, PhD in an email.

Vigil has been trying to conduct traditional clinical trials using the plant for a few years. He sees strong local support, but is frustrated with what he calls, “the reality of the federal constraints” on marijuana studies.

“…the U.S. federal government’s Cannabis research policies have blocked externally valid, randomized clinical trials on the effects of Cannabis”, wrote Vigil and co-author Sarah See Stith PhD in their letter.

Currently, Vigil tells me that he is working within these constraints to “develop and implement creative protocols for measuring the effects of cannabis use without the need for biased federal funding agencies.” This means non-traditional ways of conducting clinical assessments, however, such studies come at a high cost.

Crowdfunding science would enable some of the first U.S. scientists that have been trained to specialize in medical Cannabis research. “My intent is to implement a national campaign to fund multiple research programs and graduate student programs for conducting work that the federal granting agencies are currently ignoring,” wrote Vigil.

Representing the economic and psychology departments of the University, Vigil and Stith (respectively) want to conduct research across all areas of social and biomedical sciences at the University of New Mexico. The studies would include comparing cannabis as a medication versus current pharmacological options for seizure disorders, sleeping disorders, asthma, mood disorders, PTSD, and more.

For more information on donating to his cannabis research, you can visit the University of New Mexico Foundation’s website: https://www.unmfund.org/fund/mcri/.