Michelle Sexton

Michelle Sexton, ND

Michelle Sexton

Current Role

Assistant Research Scientist, Bastyr University Research Institute


Survey of Cannabis Use

  • This questionnaire is designed to probe the natural history of this phenomenon of a self-administered herb/drug. Data from this survey will be used to better define who Cannabis users are, their beliefs about Cannabis, their use patterns, side effects, and the therapeutic benefits they experience. The information you provide will help inform physicians, researchers, policy-makers, and patients about the potential risks and/or benefits of Cannabis as a therapeutic or recreational agent.


  • Certified Professional Midwife, NARM in 1993
  • Certified Herbalist, Sage Mountain Herbal Center in 1996
  • Bachelor of Science in Horticulture from Texas Tech University in 2003
  • ND from Bastyr University in 2008
  • Post-doctoral Individual Fellowship (F32) in Pharmacology and Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine at the University of Washington, 2008-2011

Research Interests

Dr. Sexton’s interests are in neuro-inflammation and chronic disease, and the role of neuro-nutrition in the complementary treatment of neurological disease. Dr. Sexton began studying botanical medicine at the age of 18, and continued interest in this topic led her to a degree in horticulture, in which she focused on phytochemistry of botanicals. Her research at Texas Tech University on inflammation and brain tumor markers led to her interest in the endogenous cannabinoid signaling system and the role of Cannabis as a botanical medicine.

  • Dr. Sexton’s research focuses on two primary areas: the natural history and therapeutic efficacy of Cannabis research. During her post-doctoral fellowship she studied the role of Cannabis use in patients with Multiple Sclerosis and the impact on a panel of immune parameters.
  • Dr. Sexton has relocated to San Diego where she is involved in a project with the Health Services Resource Center to investigate the role of integrative care in San Diego County mental health systems. Specifically, she is looking at the role of stigma in accessing mental health treatment.

Past Experience

  • Research Scientist, Vanderbilt University, Department of Chemistry, 2005-2007
  • Pre-doctoral fellowship (T32) at Bastyr University, 2004, 2005
  • Undergraduate Researcher at Texas Tech University, Department of Chemistry, 2002-2003
  • Private Midwifery Practice 1993-2003
  • ICEA certified childbirth educator, 1988-2002

Teaching Experience

  • Adjunct Faculty, Bastyr University, 2012
  • Future Faculty Fellow, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, University of Washington, 2011
  • Teaching Assistant, Texas Tech University, Department of Horticulture


  • Manning HC, Smith SM, Sexton M, Haviland S, Bai M, Cederquist K, Stella N, Bornhop DJ.,  “A peripheral benzodiazepine receptor targeted agent for in vitro imaging and screening”. Bioconjug Chem. 2006 May-Jun;17(3):735-40. 16704212

  • Mingfeng Bai, Michelle Sexton, Nephi Stella, and Darryl J. Bornhop,  “MBC94, A Conjugable ligand for cannabiod CB2 Receptor Imaging” (accepted Bioconjugate Chemistry) 18444670
  • Sexton M, Woodruff G, Cudaback E, Kreitzer FR, Xu C, Lin YH, Moeller T, Bai M, Manning HC, Bornhop D, Stella N.,  “Binding of NIR-conPK and NIR6T to astrocytomas and microglial cells:  evidence for a protein related to TSPO.  PLoS One Dec 18, 4(12) e8271
  • Sexton M, Woodruff G, Horne EA, Lin YH, Muccioli GG, Bai M, Stern E, Bornhop DJ, Stella N.  “NIR-mbc94, a fluorescent ligand that binds to endogenous CB2 receptors and is amenable to high-throughput screening.”  Chem Biol. 2011 May27, 18(5): 563-8.
  • Sexton, M, Sylvestroni, A, Stella, N   “Differential migratory properties of monocytes isolated from human subjects naïve and non-naïve to Cannabis”. Inflammopharmacology 2012, April 11. (Ahead of Print)
  • Sexton, M, Cudaback, E, Abdullah, RA, Wundes, A, Finnell, J, Lichtman, AH, Stella, N  “Cannabis use by patients with Multiple Sclerosis:  Effects on some immune parameters” (in process) 2013
Michelle Sexton, ND