Four New Participants Enrolled in Medical Cannabis Trial for Treating Chronic PTSD in Military Veterans

Research continues on the benefits associated with using medical cannabis as part of an approved therapy and treatment regime for military veterans that suffer from symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder.

As of June 1, 2017, a total of 18 volunteers of 76 participants have enrolled and received the study drug in the first-ever approved and sanctioned clinical trial of smoked marijuana (cannabis) for the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) with United States military veterans. Just recently, four new applicants were enrolled (4 May 2017) into the study and future participant’s screening continues to be ongoing.

The study, which is taking place at the Scottsdale Research Institute (SRI) in Phoenix, Arizona was designed to evaluate the safety and efficacy of four different potencies of marijuana for symptoms of PTSD in 76 U.S. veterans.

Specifically, thanks to a funding grant from the state of Colorado, the study will explore whether smoked marijuana can help reduce PTSD symptoms in 76 U.S. veterans with chronic, treatment-resistant posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Participants must be U.S. veterans, men or women, aged 18 or older with a diagnosis of PTSD that has not improved after trying either medication or psychotherapy.

This is certainly good news for all veteran’s that suffer from PTSD symptoms with no relief provided or obtained from traditional medical prescriptions.  And it’s been a long time coming, as the study initially got brought up as long ago as 2009 as shown in the timeline outlined below:

One ally in the fight to legalize the use of cannabis to treat PTSD is the American Legion.  Touted as the largest Veterans organization, the American Legion has been painstakingly pressuring the Trump administration to make cannabis available for further medical research.

In fact, in a recent article posted by the Legion in Defense One on the topic of medical cannabis, the following information was provided, “many Afghanistan and Iraq Veterans have contacted the American Legion to relay their personal stories about the efficacy of cannabis in significantly improving their quality of life by enabling sleep, decreasing the prevalence of night terrors, mitigating hyper-alertness, reducing chronic pain, and more,” wrote Joe Plenzler and Lou Celli, two Legion officials. It also could help fight opioid abuse, they added.”

It’s powerful statements like that which have thrust the use of medical cannabis as a viable form of treatment and therapy for PTSD sufferers in the limelight. Furthermore, the article went on to cite a finding from the Congressionally mandated National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, which stated that there was conclusive proof that cannabis was in fact effective in treating chronic pains, chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting, and multiple sclerosis spasms.

Evidence such as this strongly supports the notion that medical marijuana could help treat Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and the symptoms associated with Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) both of which are the leading causes of death and disability within the Veteran community. One bit of good news in support of everything the American Legion is attempting to do is the first carefully monitored clinical trial designed to evaluate the effectiveness of smoking marijuana to treat PTSD in Veterans.

This study is the very first of what hopes to be many trial runs designed to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of using marijuana to manage symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder in United States military Veterans.

The emphasis of the study, which was funded by a two million dollar grant from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, is also centered on the careful uses of marijuana and will closely examine the safety and effectiveness of four separate levels of marijuana potency in 76 Veterans. The hope is that the study will generate enough quantifiable data on cannabis dosing, composition and side effects, and the potential benefits of using it to treat PTSD.

After more than four years devoted to developing the study protocol and garnering federal approval, the trial was given the green light. It is now being carried out in two different locations with trials taking place in Phoenix, led by Dr. Sue Sisley, and at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, led by Ryan Vandrey.

Volunteers participanting in the study must be adult military Veterans who have experienced trauma during military service. Each will undergo 17 outpatient visits to one of the study location clinics in a 12-week period, with a follow-up visits in six months.

In an even stronger motion designed to help Veterans who suffer from PTSD, Colorado lawmakers passed a bill that added PTSD to its list of conditions eligible for treatment with medical cannabis.  As a result, Veterans (and anyone else for that matter) who suffer from PTSD can now walk into a medical dispensary and get the treatment they need—instead of hoping for treatment as was previously the case at a recreational dispensary.

The treatment does come with some stipulations before it can commence. In order for a doctor or medical physician to be able to administer and treat the patient, a full assessment of the patient’s medical history, including reviewing a previous diagnosis for a debilitating or disabling medical condition and current medical condition, must be completed before the patient can actually apply for the required registry identification card.

The doctor must also be able to provide follow-up appointments to the patient in order to determine and document the efficacy and results of the use of medical cannabis as a form of treatment for PTSD symptoms.

Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment

And Colorado isn’t the only state taking this new stance on the treatment of PTSD with medical cannabis.  At least 15 other states allow people to use medical marijuana to treat PTSD.

With so much uncertainty and new regulatory guidelines coming out on the positive effects of using medical cannabis as a form of treatment and therapy for PTSD symptoms, it can be a confusing situation.

With that in mind, here at Operation Compassionate Care, we understand and recognize the need for accurate and updated information and pledge to do our best to continue to provide valid information when it comes to properly and safely treating our Veterans for PTSD using medical cannabis as a treatment source. For any additional information or if you have any questions in relation to medical cannabis and its use in the treatment of PTSD, please don’t hesitate to send us an email, and we will respond in a timely and professional manner.