In a groundbreaking move, the Drug Enforcement Agency has now approved a study of whole-plant cannabis — including its smoked form — as a treatment for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) suffered by U.S. military veterans.
Non-profit organization MAPS, the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, announced Thursday it will receive a grant of over $2.1 million from the State of Colorado to study the whole cannabis plant — the first time any such study has been approved by federal agencies.
“We have been working towards approval since we opened the Investigational New Drug Application (IND) with the FDA in 2010,” explained Amy Emerson, Executive Director and Director of Clinical Research for the MAPS Public Benefit Corporation. “We are thrilled to see this study overcome the hurdles of approval so we can begin gathering the data. The 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.”
According to MAPS, smoked cannabis with varying levels of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) will be administered in the placebo-controlled trial to evaluate efficacy and safety for 76 veterans with treatment-resistant PTSD.
As common with typical medicinal trials, the study will examine potential side effects, dosages, and the like, in order to provide clinicians and legislators with data they may need to institute cannabis treatment and effective policy.
Founded in 1986, MAPS — as its full name suggests — has produced groundbreaking research into psychedelics and cannabis as treatments for a number of ailments. Known for exacting precise standards in its research, MAPS works closely with government agencies in the U.S. and abroad in order to maintain its ability to study drugs that might otherwise be considered illegal.
Two years ago, MAPS lamented its lack of channels — especially government grants — for funding research, though the organization predicted shifting public perception would eventually facilitate a change.
According to its website, despite previously lacking government funding, MAPS has raised $36 million since its founding for psychedelic and cannabis research.
MAPS conducts ongoing research with psychedelics such as psilocybin — found in ‘magic’ mushrooms — and LSD, which has yielded incredibly promising results for the treatment of PTSD, anxiety, and a number of other conditions.
Ultimately, through the grant-funded study, MAPS seeks to “evaluate the safety and efficacy of botanical marijuana as a prescription medicine for specific medical uses approved by the FDA.”
Sadly, paranoid stigmatization of cannabis has dictated drug policy and law for decades through the utterly failed war on drugs — but MAPS has been helping to annihilate the stereotypes. If government funding an official cannabis study can be any indication, perhaps there will be a shift away from strictures regarding the miracle plant that is cannabis.