Last month, the FDA gave its approval in the use of marijuana for proposed research studies to be conducted by MAPS (Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies) aimed at treating individuals suffering with the debilitating effects of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
The proposed study, which is targeted specifically at treating 50 war veterans suffering with PTSD, addressed specific concerns and met protocol required by the FDA, but the study will not actually begin until another review process is completed with the National Institute on Drug Abuse/Public Health Service (NIDA/PHS), which could take more than a year before approved. If green-lighted, this would mark the first-ever clinical trials testing the effects and/or benefits of smoking, eating or vaporizing marijuana plants by PTSD patients.
Through extensive hearings, lawsuits and appeals that have gone on for more than the last ten years, MAPS has been working to prove its case and gain government support for their research plan, but the DEA has continually refused acceptance of its own Administrative Law Judge’s recommendation that further exploration into the potential medicinal benefits of marijuana be considered a viable treatment.
University of Massachusetts at Amherst Professor Lyle Craker is seeking a license to grow marijuana for the research program, which is regulated by the FDA, but also needs a final approval from the DEA in order to move forward.
While medical marijuana is legal in some States, it is prescribed primarily for physiological ailments including treatment of glaucoma, arthritis and cancer. It is not currently prescribed as a treatment for PTSD. Previous work by MAPS in treating PTSD includes the street drug, ecstasy.