The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has approved the first medical marijuana research to study the effects of cannabis on treating Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in treatment-resistant military veterans. This will be the first study officially approved by both the DEA and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The research will be conducted by the non-profit organization, the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS). The study has been funded by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE), who donated a $2,156 million grant. The CDPHE has also funded another $5.6 million in grants to organizations doing medical marijuana research.
Smokable Marijuana as a Prescription Drug
Amy Emerson, Executive Director and Director of Clinical Research for the MAPS Public Benefit Corporation, said “We have been working towards approval since we opened the Investigational New Drug Application (IND) with the FDA in 2010. We are thrilled to see this study overcome the hurdles of approval so we can begin gathering the data. This study is a critical step in moving our botanical drug development program forward at the federal level to gather information on the dosing, risks, and benefits of smoked marijuana for PTSD symptoms.”
The study will research smokable marijuana as treatment (as opposed to oil) with the intention of turning smokable marijuana into a prescription drug. It will be a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, conducted on 76 U.S. veterans who have a serious form of treatment-resistant PTSD. The research will examine the effects of 4 potencies of cannabis with varying levels of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). Through the study, researchers aim to determine what strains are effective and what dosing is necessary while keeping aware of side effects in patients.
The Marijuana Research Team
Studies will be conducted across the country, overseen by Marcel Bonn-Miller, Ph.D., of the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine. Half of the study will be conducted in Phoenix Arizona by co-investigator Sue Sisley, M.D., and the other half will be done in Baltimore, Maryland by co-investigator Ryan Vandrey, Ph.D., at Johns Hopkins University. The scientific validity of the study will be overseen by co-investigator Paula Riggs, M.D., of the University of Colorado School of Medicine, with drug analysis taking place at the University of Colorado.
MAPS was founded in 1986 and has since raised over $36 million for their research into psychedelic therapy and medical marijuana and education. They now stand to initiate the first FDA approved smokable prescription marijuana. This is an important step for the future of medicine and the many who suffer from conditions that are not able to be treated by current prescription medication.
Marijuana has been classified a Schedule 1 drug for many years. This puts it in the most dangerous drug category along with heroin. The category classifies these drug as high risk, containing no medicinal value. Medical marijuana research conducted with the approval of federal organizations that monitor drugs in the United States will go a long way towards helping to lift federal prohibition and its many consequences. Most importantly it will allow patients to get the best treatment possible for their debilitating disorder.