A non-profit research group in the USA has been awarded a USD $2.156 million grant to carry out the first clinical trial of whole plant marijuana for PTSD treatment.
The trial, funded by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE), has also been given a federal blessing by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
The approval is particularly unusual as it deals with gathering data on four potencies of smoked marijuana with varying ratios of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD).
Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), which will carry out the research, says results from the trial will help inform various aspects relevant to health professionals and lawmakers considering marijuana as a treatment for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
MAPS had previously worked for more than 22 years to obtain marijuana for drug development research, but had continually been stymied by federal agencies.
“We are thrilled to see this study overcome the hurdles of approval so we can begin gathering the data,” said Amy Emerson, MAPS Executive Director and Director of Clinical Research. “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.”
Several universities will play a role in the trials – University of Pennsylvania, Johns Hopkins University and University of Colorado.
To date, only anecdotal evidence exists suggesting cannabis could be useful in treating PTSD.
MAPS won’t be the only ones researching medical marijuana’s application in PTSD treatment. Last month we reported memory expert Maria Morena from University of Calgary’s Cumming School of Medicine will attempt to determine if there is any scientific basis to support claims that marijuana can assist PTSD patients.
PTSD may be more common than most people think. According to PsychCentral, the estimated lifetime prevalence of PTSD among adult Americans is 7.8 percent, with women twice as likely as men to experience the disorder at some point in their lives. PTSD can be triggered by any traumatic event, but is most frequently associated with witnessing someone being badly injured or killed, involvement in life-threatening event, natural disaster or fire; or combat.