TOPIC:  The Highs and Lows of Conducting Research on Cannabis in Washington State

DATE:  Thursday, September 13, 2018

LOCATION:  The Museum of Flight at Boeing Field

Cannabis and humans have a long, complex and intertwined history. Many claims have been made suggesting that cannabis has significant therapeutic potential for numerous physical and mental ailments. Similarly, cannabis has been vilified because of the putative risk it poses to the health of individuals and the fabric of societies. Recent policy shifts at the level of states have made cannabis much more accessible for both medical and recreational purposes. The federal government, however, continues to regulate cannabis as a dangerous substance. Where is the truth? Is cannabis a panacea? Is it a toxic threat to all we hold dear?  

Perhaps, like many drugs and medical interventions, the truth resides in the middle of the extreme endpoints. The obvious way to answer these questions and to identify areas where cannabis may have benefit and where it may pose risk is through the conduct of rigorous scientific exploration. Unfortunately, the tension between state and federal regulations makes conducting this badly needed research challenging–so challenging that many scientists who are capable of conducting studies to provide much needed data on cannabis shy away from conducting the research.

On September 13, 2018, our annual symposium will outline the history of cannabis use and the data supporting its utility for improving the human condition, as well as its linkage to deleterious impacts. The symposium will then explore, in detail, the regulatory and practical challenges of conducting research with/on cannabis. This will include research that ranges from foundational medical experimentation to work in highly applied real-world settings. Presenters will also discuss strategies that allow research to be conducted while remaining compliant with the regulatory environment.