At the first ever Texas Marijuana Policy Conference in Austin, many cheered as they heard Sue Sisley introduce herself. She's a well-known medical doctor in Scottsdale Arizona.
"This plant is much less toxic than the prescriptions that I write for patients,” Dr. Sisley says.
She says she first was skeptical about supporting the usage of medical marijuana but when she was diagnosed with breast cancer, her opinion changed. Instead of undergoing chemotherapy, and opted to use cannabis instead. She's one year out, and so far her tests have been clear.
"We've been to the capital in Austin and have talked to legislators and I'm surprised many of them are unaware that we have appeared in 10,000 of peer reviewed medical journals showing the benefits of cannabis. We also show the risks. For players the side effect of the plant is so mild that even these professional athletes have incorporated this into their daily regime not just for wellness but it helps them recover from injuries more quickly, they're able to repair their soft tissue and manage their pain with just this one plant." Dr. Sisley says the best way to change law is by providing data.
She says the U.S. government has systematically impeded advocacy research for decades now.
Trials that are being done at her office in Scottsdale, Arizona is what she hopes will provide more answers researchers are looking for. Like which strains are best for which illnesses.
She sat alongside Mike James, who’s now a free agent in the NFL. He relied on opioids to relieve body pain caused from playing, but recently switched to marijuana. Now he says his life is changed forever. "I had to get a better option that was less harmful where I was able to take care of my family and play the game that I love,” James says.
Amylou Fawell, president and co-founder of MAMMA (mothers advocating medical marijuana for autism) says she has seen changes too. "There's a subset of children a large subset more than half will have severe behaviors with autism. My child has severe autism. He can be aggressive and self-injurious one way cannabis helps is by calming down those aggressive behaviors.
The conference continues tomorrow.
Caregivers and patients will be speaking at different sessions, as well as veterans.