Landmark Trial Looks To Treat PTSD In Veterans With Marijuana

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Steve Birr Vice Reporter
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Veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are participating in the first clinical trial studying the efficacy of treatment with marijuana.

The trial will observe the benefits and side-effects of smoking marijuana in 76 veterans with PTSD. Researchers are using marijuana with four different levels of potency to investigate which strains of PTSD, and what symptoms, respond best. The Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) announced Tuesday that the first participant enrolled into the study received their weed Monday, after screening for volunteers from the military throughout January, reports Army Times.

Each participant will undergo treatment with marijuana over a 12-week period, with a required six-month follow up. Researchers hope the results can give critical guidance to lawmakers in terms of future policy, specifically the treatment of veterans.

“As this is the first placebo-controlled trial of cannabis for PTSD, we are breaking important ground needed to identify improved treatment options for veterans with PTSD,” Marcel Bonn-Miller of the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine said in a statement Tuesday.

Bonn-Miller is coordinating the clinical trial, which is being conducted at the Scottsdale Research Institute in Phoenix, Ariz. and Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland. The participants will complete 17 outpatient visits at one of the two locations.

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment gave MAPS, a California-based non-profit, a $2 million grant in 2014 to conduct the research.

The study is expected to give enormous insight into the medical properties and uses of marijuana, a field with a small but growing body of research. Many health professionals in states that recently legalized marijuana for medical or recreational use are excited about the possibilities weed offers patients, particularly those who are treated primarily with addictive opioid medication.

Researchers from the University of British Columbia studied the relationship between marijuana use and mental health, as well as its interaction with different illnesses. The findings, published in Clinical Psychology Review in November, suggest marijuana is a helpful tool for those suffering from addiction and mental health conditions.

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