The federal government has approved a new study that will allow the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) to analyze the role of medical grade marijuana as a treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder. The surprising decision came last week from the Department of Health and Human Services and reverses decades of rejection of medical marijuana research.
In a letter sent to MAPS the Department of Health and Human Services states, “the proposed study is cleared for the purchase of research grade marijuana”. MAPS originally submitted their request back in October 2013. The study, a joint effort between MAPS and the University of Arizona, will examine the effects of five different grades of smoked and vaporized marijuana on 50 veterans diagnosed with PTSD.
MAPS is the main financial supporter of the study, which will be carried out in conjunction with University of Arizona Professor Suzanne Sisley. MAPS has worked extensively on legalizing research on marijuana, lsd, and psilocybin mushrooms.
The study had already been approved by the Food and Drug Administration but without approval from the DHHS the researchers were unable to purchase marijuana from the National Institute on Drug Abuse. The National Institute’s Marijuana research farm in Mississippi is the only legal source of medical marijuana according to federal law. The next step in the process is approval from the Drug Enforcement Administration, which is expected to come soon now that the DHHS has approved.
According to the National Center for PTSD, 11 – 20% of veterans of the Afghanistan and Iraq War’s Operation Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom have symptoms of PTSD. Researchers believe PTSD symptoms could be the cause of a massive rise in veterans suicides. According to data gathered from government statistics, veterans are killing themselves at more than double the rate of the civilian population. Symptoms of PTSD can cause anxiety, flashbacks, depression, and sleep deprivation. The Center for PTSD also reports that 7 – 8% of Americans will have PTSD at some point in their lives.