While Uncle Sam is still not convinced there is enough applicable science behind the healing theories of medical marijuana to allow veterans suffering from debilitating mental conditions to have access to the herb, researchers are finally moving forward with a federally approved study that could result in cannabis being used as an acceptable treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder.
Although it has taken several difficult years to get to this point, Dr. Sue Sisley and her team of scientific minds are preparing to embark on an exploration into the healing powers of the cannabis plant. The results of this study could force those members of Congress, who recently voted against allowing veterans to discuss medical marijuana with their VA physicians, to eat crow.
Earlier last year, after receiving federal approval to proceed with her research, Dr. Sisley was terminated from her position at the University of Arizona, where the study was to be overseen. Fortunately, the state of Colorado came forward with a $2 million donation from the state’s recreational market to get this research off the ground.
Yet, Sisley and her team have since been forced to contend with the government’s inability to produce the caliber of cannabis required for the study. So they have been impatiently waiting for the University of Mississippi to harvest a crop specific to their potency demands.
However, in a recent article from Psychiatry Advisor, Dr. Sisley suggested that her highly publicized research on PTSD and pot is set to get underway. The six-week study will consist of 76 veterans who will be given four different strains of marijuana in order to gauge how different THC to CBD ratios affect the symptoms of this common anxiety disorder.
"We chose to study veterans because of the prevalence of debilitating PTSD among this population," Dr. Marcel Bonn-Miller, a researcher on Sisley's team, told Main Street. "That said, we believe the findings from this work will generalize to individuals with PTSD more broadly."
Although the results of this study will not force the United States government to reconsider their position on marijuana, it could provide added scientific evidence of the herb’s health benefits by lending support to what other researchers have already discovered.
In her article entitled "Why Marijuana Is Critical For Research in Treating PTSD," Dr. Sisley pointed out that a similar study, which was published in the Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, proved successful back in 2014. After studying 80 veterans of the U.S. military, who were given cannabis to combat PTSD, psychiatrist George Green found a 75 percent decrease in the symptoms associated with the condition—an impressive number for a substance that continues to be hindered by the federal government.
Sisley said there is a desperate need to break down the governmental barriers to marijuana research, specifically the NIDA monopoly and the Public Health Service review process.
“Our research is intended to address some of the unanswered questions surrounding medical marijuana, particularly the proper dosage and cannabinoid ratio for PTSD patients,” Sisley wrote. “To put patients, front and center, rather than politics, there is a desperate need to expand cannabis research. Without this research, we are leaving medical marijuana open for political opportunists, rather than allowing doctors to explore new options that serve the best interests of our patients.”
(Photo Courtesy of OregonLive.com)
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