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Feds OK study on treating PTSD with smoked marijuana

By Oscar Pascual |

It’s been over a year since the federal government approved research on treating Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder with marijuana. Nothing has happened, for lack of weed. But now, it looks like science can advance.

The National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA) informed the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) on Wednesday that it is ready to supply researchers with the marijuana needed for the study, reports Military.com.

MAPS spokesperson Brad Burge told Military.com that it would be the first federally funded study in which subjects will ingest marijuana by smoking it. The study will also be the first “whole-plant” study, meaning that it won’t be delivered through a concentrated system such as a pill.

These precedents likely come due to the fact that pot’s main psychoactive compound THC is related to alleviate anxiety disorders such as post-traumatic stress, as opposed to pot’s therapeutic compound CBD, according to research from the late Yale associate professor of psychiatry R. Andrew Sewell.

Barring any further lapses, the study will finally begin after years of facing a number of setbacks.

The study was given approval from all the required federal agencies in March of 2014, after waiting almost three years prior to gain approval from the Department of Health and Human Services.

MAPS researcher and then-assistant professor at the University of Arizona’s medical school Suzanne Sisley was given the task to lead the study, although efforts from conservative lawmakers pressured the university into firing Sisley and derailing studies altogether.

Shortly after her firing, the state of Colorado awarded Sisley a $2 million grant for her work. She is now in the process of setting up an independent laboratory as a new test site.

Once the site is operational, 76 veterans will take part in the study, which will measure the effective treatment provided by different strains of varying potency. Baltimore, MD’s Johns Hopkins University will serve as a second venue for the actual study.

“We are now waiting to hear back from the Institutional Review Board at Johns Hopkins,” Burge told Military.com. “We anticipate getting clearance … in the next several weeks.”

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