Marijuana treatment sought for chronic PTSD sufferers

Researchers are seeking federal approval for what is believed to be the first study to examine the therapeutic effects of marijuana on veterans with chronic post-traumatic stress disorder, according to a report in The New York Times.

The proposal, from the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies in Santa Cruz, Calif., and a researcher at the University of Arizona College of Medicine, would look at the potential benefits of cannabis by examining 50 combat veterans who have not responded to other treatment, the paper reported Monday.

“These are people whom we put in harm’s way, and we have a moral obligation to help them,” Rick Doblin, founder and executive director of the psychedelic studies group, was quoted as saying.

In April, the Food and Drug Administration said it was satisfied that safety concerns over the study had been addressed by Doblin and Dr. Sue Sisley, an assistant professor of psychiatry and internal medicine at Arizona, according to a letter from the FDA provided to the Times by Doblin, but noted there are other hurdles, such as where the marijuana would come from.

One Army veteran from Texas who fought in Iraq for 18 months beginning in 2006, told the Times that he used marijuana three times a day in lieu of the prescribed painkillers and antidepressants. He asked that his name not be used because Texas does not allow medical marijuana.

“I have seen it with my own eyes,” he told the paper. “It works for a lot of the guys coming home.”

If the study is approved, veterans would be given up to 1.8 grams, or about three marijuana cigarettes, a day to treat anxiety, depression, nightmares and other symptoms brought on by PTSD, the Times wrote.

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