This Veterans Study Wants YOU (To Smoke Some Cannabis)
Can marijuana help treat PTSD?
Published on August 3, 2016

A new study seeks to test the effectiveness of cannabis on the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder once and for all, and are seeking former combat veterans to consume cannabis to examine its effects. 

The study -- financed through a $2.2 million grant by the state of Colorado to the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), a California-based nonprofit -- will look to determine if and how PTSD-related symptoms are treated by the regular use of cannabis.

“We’re not arguing that cannabis is a cure, but our hypothesis is that it will at least reduce the symptoms,” says Dr. Sue Sisley, a physician and organizer of the upcoming study.

The study will test a total of 76 veterans over the course of 12 weeks and will be conducted at two research institutions: Johns Hopkins University, located in Baltimore, Maryland; and Scottsdale Research Institute, located in Phoenix, Arizona.

Veterans will smoke up to the equivocal of two joints or less per day their first two weeks. 

Dr. Sisley has stated that the ideal candidates for the study’s test subjects should be generally healthy but should have also received a disability rating from the Department of Veterans Affairs for PTSD sustained in combat. Ideal subjects would also not be regular cannabis users.

The controlled study will randomly assign participants to smoke four types of cannabis: those with high concentrations of THC; high concentrations of CBD; those with equal amounts of THC and CBD; and a placebo with no significant levels of either substance.

Participants will be provided weekly supplies of cannabis, as well as a pipe with which to imbibe the substance. The study does not allow for the use of vaporizers.

“They use only in response to PTSD symptoms, so they’re allowed to use anytime in the day or night,” said Dr. Sisley. “The veteran is empowered to use however they see fit as long as they don’t exceed the 1.8 grams per day.”

The study was first approved in April, in an announcement that heralded the study’s potential for groundbreaking research.

“This 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,” said Amy Emerson, the MAPS Public Benefit Corporation’s clinical research director.

According to Dr. Sisley, over 100 veterans have already expressed interest in participating. Prospective Arizona-based participants may email their information to [email protected], while the Baltimore study has yet to open up applications.

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John Winston
John Winston is a New York City-based journalist. He is also a media advisor for
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