Research is Now Being Conducted on Marijuana as a New Treatment for PTSD

A bottle of traditional medications and cannabis leaves as new treatment for PTSD currently being researched.Roberto Pickering, an infantry marine, struggled to become acclimated to civilian life after returning from the war. Suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) he was placed on medications such as Valium, Zoloft, Oxycontin, Lithium, and Ambien. Having little success with each medication after a friend took his own life and another died of a heroin overdose, he moved in with his parents and found comfort in alcohol. About 10 years ago he began to experiment with marijuana and noticed a change in his mood. Using marijuana regularly has diminished his angry outbursts and has given him the ability to have a good night’s sleep.

Recently a $2.15 million study funded by Colorado and conducted by the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Colorado, Johns Hopkins University and the Scottsdale Research Institute has been approved to research the effects of marijuana as a new treatment for PTSD. The study is a two phase random placebo controlled multisite site study to assess the effects of four different types of smoked marijuana and how it affects treatment resistant PTSD symptoms. The first phase will have 76 participates smoke randomly assigned strains of marijuana including a placebo for three weeks. They will record their experiences then abstain from smoking for the following two weeks. This will continue onto the second phase where they will follow up with researchers for six months.    

Researchers will track measurements of PTSD and PTSD symptoms throughout the study in hopes to provide information on “marijuana dosing, composition, side effects, and specific areas of benefit to clinicians and legislators considering marijuana as an acceptable treatment for PTSD” Rebecca Mathews, a MAPS clinical trial leader working on the study, stated. The study should last for about two years and add 2 veterans per site per month. Dr. Sue Sisley, the principal investigator in the study states, “I’m not pro- cannabis; I am strictly pro-science.” She is an advocate for our veterans and is consistently searching for a new treatment for PTSD to replace the current approved medicates that are considered highly disappointing in her eyes.  

Pickering not only feels alleviated from his PTSD symptoms but he also feels motivated to share his experience with others. He started the Battlefield Foundation to combat veteran suicide and plans to incorporate cannabis into his plans and mission. The strategy for his organization is to use cannabis for the mind and promote exercise and diet for the body. He not only plans to help veterans emotionally and physically but financially as well. He wants to do this by including crews of veterans to trim marijuana buds for $20 an hour. Although the turnout of the study can only be speculated, Pickering hopes that it will be the push needed to treat cannabis as medicine and to be able to distribute it to the masses.  

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