Veterans and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder have been at the center of many discussions and medical marijuana controversies. Now, a prominent university has pulled out of an important PTSD medical marijuana study.
The Washington Post says the long-awaited study was cancelled by the Johns Hopkins University. Medical marijuana has been hailed as a promising solution to the problem of PTSD amongst veterans. The reason the university gave for not enrolling veterans was that its goals were no longer in agreement with the goals of the administrator, the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS).
Afraid of challenging the federal system
MAPS retaliated by saying the dispute was about directly challenging the federal drug policy. It insists that research can only be done by using cannabis produced by the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
MAPS obtained the government marijuana, but reported it was contaminated with mold and of poor quality. Two days later, Hopkins resigned from the study. MAPS will continue the study at a private Arizona lab. An analyst said the resignation of the University was a blow. The campus would have been ideal, providing convenient access to the many veterans from Maryland.
Researchers face uncertain future
John Hudak from the University says the future of scientific research and trials on cannabis under the Trump administration are uncertain.
The MAPS study was meant to be the initial study to gather data on the effectiveness of PTSD medical marijuana treatments. If findings were favorable, the condition could be added to the list of conditions qualifying for state programs. It could also have lifted the department of Veteran Affairs’ ban on doctors recommending, or even discussing, cannabis as a possible way of dealing with anxiety and other PTSD symptoms.
PTSD medical marijuana study: Weed for Warriors
Sean Kiernan, president of the Weed for Warriors Project, says his organization is trying to determine what marijuana could do for veterans with treatment-resistant PTSD. Most of these veterans are not finding relief from standard treatments.
MAPS planned the study in 2009. In 2012, the University’s review board approved the proposal. MAPS got $2.2 million in funding. This covered license fees for legal state marijuana. Hopkins joined the study, and got scientific board clearance in 2015. Although a phone line was set up for veterans to register, the researchers did not enroll anyone.
Co-founder and president of Veterans for Safe Access and Compassionate Care, based in Massachusetts, Scott Murphy, said this has been going on for years. PTSD medical marijuana research faces one obstacle after another.
Research to be conducted by the private sector
Suzanne Sisley, psychiatrist, marijuana advocate and co-administrator of MAPS said every opportunity was given to the University of Arizona and Hopkins to partner with MAPS, but they were not willing to go ahead. However, she said that she believes the private sector will go ahead with research.