There’s evidence to support that potential. Another unrelated study suggested that pot may even have a place in curbing the opioid epidemic.And yet marijuana can be notoriously hard to study in the U.S. because it’s classified as a Schedule 1 drug, which means it has a high potential for abuse. Many scientists and medical professionals think the classification hampers research, and that marijuana’s medical potential merits further exploration. More studies, research advocates argue, would also help eliminate stigma associated with the drug, paving the way for more and better studies.

“I think people will derive more benefit if they can speak more openly with providers about whether they are using cannabis and why,” says Walsh.

Walsh is a lead investigator on a clinical trial of cannabis that is being funded by a medical cannabis producer called Tilray. Another researcher on the study has been a consultant for other medical cannabis producers. When asked if this represents a conflict of interest, Walsh points out that funding for marijuana-related research is hard to come by. “I think we are entering a different world,” he says, “but for now a lot of the research, at least in Canada, is funded by the producers.”

Like any drug, pot can have side effects, and Walsh and other researchers argue that for now, all aspects of cannabis need to be further explored, both benefits and potential harms.