The cannabis plant is useful for everything from textiles to medicine, however our ability to use these plants has been hampered by its association with illegal drugs. People are beginning to make very big claims about the use of cannabinoids to treat almost every ailment under the sun, however the evidence still just isn’t there. Samuel Banister is a medicinal chemist at the Lambert Initiative at the University of Sydney that studies how drugs affect our brains and bodies in both good and bad ways. He studies how the chemicals found in cannabis might be used to treat conditions such as epilepsy and certain cancers.
Sam also studies how illicit drugs affect the brain and the chemical pathways behind their effects. In this interview with In Situ Science we chat about the benefits of voluntary pill testing, and whether the prohibition of drugs can cause more harm than good. We also talk about the challenges of understanding the effects of recreational drugs with new drugs constantly being developed and finding their way out into the streets.
Music: ‘Strange Stuff’ by Sonic Wallpaper – www.sonicwallpaper.bandcamp.com