Jun 3, 2016 9:10 AM

DEA Approves Medical Cannabis Research for Veterans With PTSD

The Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) has recently announced that the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) gave approval to the research on the effects of whole-plant cannabis therapy for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in military veterans.

The research is a significant step in pushing the botanical drug development program to the federal level. It provides the opportunity to collect information on the benefits of smoking cannabis as a part of PTSD treatment.

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) awarded a grant of $2.156 million to MAPS to sponsor the study. It is the first time when a federal agency has approved clinical tests that will allow turning whole-plant, smokable cannabis into a prescription drug.

According to the press release recently issued by MAPS, the research will study the efficiency of cannabis in 76 military veterans with a treatment-resistant kind of PTSD.

Scientists will collect information about the effects of smoking marijuana with different content of cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). The results of this PTSD study will present valid information on cannabis dosage, side effects, and advantages to scientists, doctors, and legislators.

The study will be performed in Maryland and Arizona. Dr. Sue Sisley, a researcher working on using medical cannabis for PTSD treatment in Phoenix, AZ, will treat the first half of the subjects. Another half will be treated by Dr. Ryan Vandrey of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, MD. The blood analysis will be made at the University of Colorado, Boulder.

Only six states (Pennsylvania, Maine, Arizona, Connecticut, New Mexico, and Delaware) among the 24 states that have already passed legislation to create medical marijuana programs allow prescribing cannabis for treating PTSD. The District of Columbia, Massachusetts, and California allow doctors to recommend medical cannabis for illnesses that are not listed as qualifying conditions if they feel the patient will benefit. Although scientists need more detailed research on the properties of cannabis, medical marijuana is a promising treatment for many serious diseases, such as cancer, Alzheimer disease, schizophrenia, and many others.

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