A clinical trial of medical marijuana could provide new hope for people suffering from sickle cell anemia.
The study happening at San Francisco General Hospital is so cutting edge that the government almost stopped it from happening.
At Oakland's Harborside Health Center, the walls are lined with just about every pot plant you could imagine. But across the room at the state's largest cannabis dispensary, something else is on sale. It's liquid marijuana -- including some kinds that are rich in a chemical called CBD.
"CBD is another cannabinoid, one of the active ingredients in the plant. It's not psychoactive, but it is active against inflammation and pain," Dr. Donald Abrams said.
Abrams knows this because of mice that were genetically programmed to develop the painful condition known in humans as sickle cell anemia. The normally round red blood cells take on a crescent shape and clog vital pathways through the body.