DEA Approves First-Ever Marijuana Drug Trial For PTSD In Veterans

The DEA has approved a trial period to test the efficacy of whole plant marijuana in treating PTSD for the first time ever.

Credit: The Atlantic

Credit: The Atlantic

For the first time ever, a U.S. drug regulatory agency has approved a randomized controlled trial of whole plant medical marijuana as a treatment for PTSD in veterans.

By approving the trial, the Drug Enforcement Administration has agreed to allow the testing and development of smoked botanical marijuana into a legal prescription drug for post-traumatic stress disorder.

The trial will involve 76 veterans with treatment-resistant PTSD and be conducted by the non-profit organization MAPS, who has been working to get this trial approved for 6 years. The group will gather safety and efficacy data on four different potencies of smoked marijuana with varying ratios of THC and CBD.

Results of the trial will include concrete data on marijuana dosing, side effects, and composition that will serve as an informational guideline to clinicians considering it as treatment and politicians considering making it legal.

Amy Emerson, Executive Director and Director of Clinical Research for the MAPS Public Benefit Corporation, said this about their upcoming work:

“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.”

Though the study will be funded by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment in the amount of $2.156 million, the study will take place in several different states. Half of the subjects will be treated in Phoenix, AZ and the other half will be tested in Baltimore, MD, with the blood analysis being conducted in Boulder, CO.

Marijuana as a treatment has been a controversial topic because of its listing as a Schedule I drug and the lack of research available to back up claims of its effectiveness. MAPS hopes to bridge the gap between users’ testimony and proof of its capabilities.

This step forward is exciting, but those eager to see the results might have to wait several years until the findings are published. It’s estimated that the results will be revealed in 2019.

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