The United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has taken the first step in approving marijuana (not just cannabidiols) as a treatment and research tool in scientific research studies. The study in question is a clinical trial funded by the state of Colorado to the tune of $2 million. The trial will study the possible use of marijuana for treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which affects an estimated 7.8 percent of Americans at some point in their lives. The ultimate goal is to study the effects of marijuana on PTSD in order to develop it into a legal medical drug, according to Fortune Magazine. At the helm of the study is the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, also known as MAPS. Dr. Sue Sisley, the maligned doctor from the University of Arizona College of Medicine who lost three university contracts initiated to study cannabis. Following her appeal to the Medical Marijuana Scientific Advisory Council of Colorado, however, she had her funding.
DEA’s Altered Policy
Although the DEA has always stuck to its guns concerning marijuana policy, it’s rapidly becoming obvious that cannabis is effective not only for rapid and long-term chronic pain relief, but also for seizures, PTSD, and even cancer. Even the DEA can’t ignore the findings and evidence forever. Originally, the head of the DEA, Chuck Rosenberg, stated that smoking marijuana as medicine “is a joke.” As of yesterday, he’s singing a different tune – and earlier in April, the DEA indicated it may even consider the reclassification of marijuana.
MAPS’ Long Road to PTSD Marijuana Study Approval
The MAPS website indicated that the PTSD study will be conducted with war veterans, although many other people also suffer from PTSD at certain points in their lives. MAPS also stated that past studies on the effects of medical marijuana on study participants “have been hindered” by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and the DEA. MAPS details its lengthy and difficult struggle against these two agencies on its website, noting that it spent 12 years trying to convince the DEA to allow MAPS to “allow researchers to grow their own” marijuana for research. Prior to yesterday’s decision, NIDA was the only organization with a legal supply of research marijuana. In 2014, the U.S. Public Health Service approved MAPS’ study, but MAPS was unable to start the study at Johns Hopkins University and in Phoenix, Arizona, until the recent DEA approval. The federally grown marijuana for use in the study is being cultivated in Mississippi, according to MAPS. If you know someone who might want to participate in the study, contact MAPS at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This post was originally published on April 24, 2016, it was updated on October 4, 2017.