DEA Approves Medical Marijuana Trials for PTSD Veterans

War veterans tormented with the effects of possttaumatic stress disorder (PSTD) may soon gain access to medical marijuana as a legal treatment option.

On April 21, 2016 the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) submitted a press release announcing the DEA has approved the State of Colorado to provide MAPS with a $2.156 grant for research studies on the use of cannabis to help U.S. veterans struggling with PTSD.

Although state governments in places like California and Oregon already allow residents to use medical marijuana for a variety of ailments, the DEA still lists cannabis as a Schedule I controlled substance. In fact, the DEA’s decision to support clinical trials that could turn marijuana into a legal prescription drug under federal law is unprecedented.

In statement to The Washington Times, the director of clinical research for MAPS Amy Emerson was quoted as saying, “This study is a critical step in moving our botanical drug development program forward at the federal level to gather information on the dosing, risks and benefits of smoked marijuana for PTSD symptoms.”

MAPS plans on performing the research trials on 76 PTSD-affected U.S. military veterans that have not responded to other available treatments. MAPS claims it will administer a random, blind, and placebo-controlled study to participating veterans.

According to the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, PTSD occurs as a result of witnessing or experiencing traumatic event. And in general, those suffering from PTSD typically display one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Reliving the event through nightmares, flashbacks or triggers
  • Avoiding the circumstances, people, thoughts or discussions that could prompt memories of the event
  • Adopting a negative perception about themselves, other people, and the world around them
  • Developing “hyperarousal” behavior, which includes trouble sleeping, difficulty concentrating, a constant state of high alert, physical defensiveness, and becoming easily startled
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