A team of researchers has received funding from the state of Colorado to launch a long-awaited federal study on the efficacy of marijuana when used to treat patients suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. The Military Times reports that the state’s Department of Public Health and the Environment approved $2 million last December that will go towards exploring the effects of cannabis in relation to the symptoms associated with this debilitating anxiety disorder.
The research, which is overseen by Dr. Sue Sisley and the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, finally received approval from Uncle Sam’s health cronies earlier last year, with the study schedule to get underway at the University of Arizona. However, the institution made the decision shortly thereafter to terminate Dr. Sisley’s position, which put the program on a discouraging hiatus.
Nevertheless, the study of nearly 80 veterans split between a facility in Arizona under the watchful eye of Dr. Sisley and another group in the care of Ryan Vandrey at John Hopkins University in Maryland, can now proceed with the help of the grant awarded by the state of Colorado.
The financial support is a “big step forward for cannabis science and medicine,” said MAPS executive director Rick Doblin, adding that this is the first time in their over 28 years of existence that the group has received funding to study the benefits of a Schedule I substance.
It took four years for researchers to develop study protocol palatable enough to earn the approval of the federal government. It calls for study participants, all veterans with PTSD, to either smoke or vaporize two joints per day (0.9 grams) and submit weekly journals detailing their experiences.
There were a number of additional hoops for researchers to jump through, including being forced to wait for marijuana licensed by the Drug Enforcement Administration, which has to be specially cultivated at the University of Mississippi to meet the potency requirements outlined in the study. Researchers are still waiting for the crop to be harvested.
Dr. Sisley told The Military Times that she is interested in conducting her portion of the study at a university somewhere in Phoenix, yet the details surrounding the exactly location has not been disclosed. “My goal has always been to continue this research in Arizona,” she said. “I refuse to turn my back on these dedicated Arizona veterans.”