HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - One researcher is hoping to get the ball rolling on medical marijuana production to help veterans suffering from PTSD.
At Manoa Botanicals production facility in Leeward Oahu, medical cannabis will be ready for harvest in the fall. But CEO Brian Goldstein and Medical Director, Dr. Sue Sisley knows there's still much work to be done.
"I'm so grateful that the state of Hawaii now created a regulated market. It's a real gift to the sick and debilitated patients of Hawaii," said Dr. Sisley
While many veterans have reported feeling better after using marijuana, physicians demand verified research before endorsing treatments. That's why Dr. Sisley's study, backed by the Food and Drug Administration, is significant.
"I think they recognize a serious public health crisis in this country when it comes to veterans. We have an epidemic of veteran suicide. Here in Hawaii we are finding very revered veterans who are taking their life because they are not having adequate treatment," she said.
Dr. Sisley gained national attention in 2014 defending research into marijuana when the University of Arizona fired her. It denied politics was involved. The attention won more support for the study which has two more years to go.
"It's possible that this botanical medicine could be on the market with an FDA indication for treating PTSD. This is why we've been fighting so hard to get this study underway," said Dr. Sisley.
The dispensary says the next major hurdle will be getting the state to certify at least one lab for testing of the products. The Health Department expects one of the three to be approved sometime this summer.
When asked about potential conflicts of interest, Manoa Botanicals says it's common for researchers to work in the industry they are studying. Dr. Sisley has no financial interest in the company and receives compensation as its medical director.