Though weed activists have long praised the potential benefits of marijuana for those suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), the Drug Enforcement Administration is only just now taking action. The DEA has approved a groundbreaking study on medical weed as a PTSD treatment, with the Huffington Post confirming the study will indeed be the first of its kind. The move comes a full six years after a study plan was sent to the Food and Drug Administration, but is (of course) better late than never.
"We are thrilled to see this study overcome the hurdles of approval so we can begin gathering the data," Amy Emerson, director of clinical research for the MAPS (Multidisciplinary Approach to Psychedelic Studies), said in a statement obtained by High Times. "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." MAPS, the non-profit group behind the study, says this historic moment will stand as the first time a clinical trial has attempted to show that "smoked botanical marijuana" can easily be turned into a legal prescription drug.
76 military veterans with "treatment-resistant" PTSD will participate in the study, with the Post reporting that half of these patients will be treated with weed in Phoenix, Arizona and the other half in Baltimore, Maryland. Research will be split between the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine and Johns Hopkins University, respectively. "It feels like a real triumph," Dr. Suzanne Sisley, who will head the Arizona side of research, told the Post on Friday. "It's a chance for science to overcome politics." At time of publication, researchers were currently prepping to order the needed weed from the National Institute of Drug Abuse.
The DEA kicked April off with some celebration-inducing news a few weeks back, with their dense 25-page letter to lawmakers revealing that a decision on the possible reclassification of weed should be reached by this July. Both the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Epilepsy Foundation of America have publicly expressed their support of bumping weed down from its current Schedule I status, according to the Washington Times.
"Reclassifying cannabis will make scientific research easier and will send a strong signal that the U.S. government is finally ready to acknowledge that marijuana has medical value," Tom Angell, the chair of weed activism group Marijuana Majority, told the Times. Tom, of course, is right. Thankfully, this potentially game-changing PTSD study has (finally) been approved, hopefully shining even more light on weed's oft-discussed medical benefits.