Although recent studies from the Department of Veterans Affairs suggest that cannabis is ineffective in the treatment of PTSD and chronic pain, soldiers of the scientific community agree that this research is the same “worthless,” rehashed noise that the federal government has been trying to sell the general public for decades.
It was just last week that the VA published a paper in the latest Annals of Internal Medicine, suggesting there was not enough conclusive evidence to prove that marijuana has any therapeutic benefit. The studies, which were overseen by the VA Portland Health Care System, found limited evidence that patients suffering from pain or anxiety disorders would experience any successful results through the use of medical marijuana.
But for those people who have seen, firsthand, just how marijuana has helped conquer the symptoms of these conditions over the past several decades, the studies do not carry any weight.
“I find the funds spent on regurgitating these studies to be worthless,” said Sean Kiernan, a veteran who works with researcher Dr. Suzanne Sisley in the study of cannabis on PTSD patients.
Dr. Sisley agrees, telling the Washington Times that the government’s decision to release the studies was “not helpful.”
“[The VA researchers are] just retreading all the same material,” she said. “These aren’t controlled trials, they’re all observational studies fraught with tons of human bias.”
Interestingly, researchers connected to the latest VA studies were prohibited from discussing the results with the media. In fact, the only statement provided was one made earlier this year by Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin, saying that the VA was open to medical marijuana but would not change its policy until the substance was no longer restricted by federal law.
“My opinion is, is that some of the states that have put in appropriate controls, there may be some evidence that this is beginning to be helpful,” Shulkin said. “And we’re interested in looking at that and learning from that. But until the time that federal law changes, we are not able to be able to prescribe medical marijuana for conditions that may be helpful.”
Until Dr. Sisley, or some other researcher, is allowed to study the effects of medical marijuana without constant setbacks courtesy of the federal government, it could be a long time before there is conclusive evidence proving that cannabis can provide relief for those with certain conditions.
For the past several years, Dr. Sisley has struggled to get her research off the ground because of the red tape associated with reviewing a Schedule I drug. One of the latest setbacks Sisley and her team have experienced is the inability to get their hands on quality cannabis.
The situation is not expected to get any better under the Trump administration, as just last week it was revealed that U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions is holding back cannabis research by not allowing the DEA to issue any addition cultivation licenses.