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Monday, March 24, 2014

Treating PTSD With Marijuana, Study Awaits Approval

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) plagues millions of war veterans; with few treatments to help cope with the problem many turn to drugs, alcohol, and even suicide. In fact, an estimated 11-20% of troops​ who served in the Middle East suffer from PTSD, according to The Department of Veterans Affairs. With an estimated 7.7 million Americans having the disorder, reports the National Institutes of Health.

Sadly, researchers have not found any treatments that hold much water, causing some researchers to think outside the box. A handful of scientists are looking to marijuana to determine if the highly controversial drug has qualities that might be beneficial to PTSD sufferers. In fact, no controlled test has ever been conducted to find out if marijuana suppresses PTSD symptoms; such as flashbacks, insomnia and anxiety, says Suzanne Sisley, the lead researcher on a proposed study of marijuana and PTSD, according to USA Today.

As one might imagine, the study proposed by Sisley had to work its way through the appropriate government channels in order to receive the clearance needed to move forward. Sisley received a stamp of approval by the Food and Drug Administration in 2011 and this month she got the O.K. from the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services: Public Health Service division, according to the article.

Sisley has one more hoop to jump through, she needs approval from the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the third and final agency. How long this last approval will take is anyone’s guess, as the DEA has yet to make a statement, reports the newspaper.

If approved, the research will involve a 10-week study, focusing on 50 veterans with moderate to severe symptoms of the disorder. The marijuana used in Sisley’s study will come from America’s only federal government marijuana farm at the University of Mississippi.

"It's hopefully a great starting point to begin to uncover some innovative ways of treating PTSD," Sisley told USA Today.

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