New Study of marijuana’s effects on PTSD faces challenges of recruiting vets
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At last there is a government approved study of marijuana’s effects on veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder, the first of its kind after 7 years of waiting. The study is lead by researcher Sue Sisley. Her team had been granted permission to begin enrolling veterans to participate in the study back in February this year. Since then she and her team have screened thousands of veterans yet only 26 have been enrolled who meet the eligibility criteria – prompting concern the study’s parameters must change. Sisley notes that this could delay the study.

The main issue being the researchers’ lack of access to the Department of Veterans Affairs hospital in Phoenix, which is just 20 miles from where the study is being conducted. Sisley has noted that there is plenty of potential in them finding many veterans at the hospital who might be resistant to other PTSD treatments and looking for an alternative. So far the Phoenix VA hospital has shown 0 cooperation.

The Food and Drug Administration, Drug Enforcement Agency and Department of Health and Human Services offered their approval for the clinical trial. The clinical trial needs only 76 participants to be viable. Many veterans are not taking part in the study because they live far away from the location since those taking part in the study are needed to report at the Scottsdale Research Institute in Phoenix 10 times over 18 weeks, and then have a six-month follow-up.

The study is being funded by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, and have granted a sum of $2.1 million, to cater for travel expenses for veterans who are out of state. Sisley noted that relocation to Arizona by veterans could also affect the results.

The clinical study uses four potencies of marijuana and intends to replicate real-world use of the drug. Participants are given 1.8 grams daily, however they have the freedom to choose the quantity they smoke. They are also asked to keep a daily journal that should always be updated. The other organization sponsoring the study is the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies in Santa Cruz, Calif.

In an effort to gain the 76 enrolled participants Sisley is fighting to gain access to more veterans at the Phoenix VA hospital.