For the first time in U.S. history, the Drug Enforcement Administration has approved a scientific trial of medical marijuana as a potential treatment for veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.
The non-profit Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies said in an April 21 press release that it is receiving a "$2.156 million grant from State of Colorado" for the medical trial, which is "intended to develop smoked botanical marijuana into a legal prescription drug."
The Food and Drug Administration also gave its approval for the medical trial, which will gather information on four types of smoked marijuana of varying strengths.
Amy Emerson executive director of the MAPS Public Benefit Corporation said in the news release:
We have been working towards approval since we opened the Investigational New Drug Application (IND) with the FDA in 2010. We are thrilled to see this study overcome the hurdles of approval so we can begin gathering the data. This study is a critical step in moving our botanical drug development program forward at the federal level to gather information on the dosing, risks, and benefits of smoked marijuana for PTSD symptoms.
"Mostly we're just grateful that we get to see science move forward," Dr. Sue Sisley, one of the leaders of medical trial, told The Denver Post. "The study needs to happen because these veterans have legitimate questions."
Sisley and the other researchers will spend the next two years finding and testing 76 veterans who will volunteer for the trial at Phoenix and Baltimore clinics. The vets' blood will be studied at the University of Colorado at Boulder.
Sisley has pursued this clinical trial since 2010, but has been dealing with red tape, attempting to raise funds and losing her job.
In 2015, Sisley was fired from the University of Arizona in 2014 soon after she received approval from U.S. government to study medical marijuana and PTSD, according to VICE. She then began pursuing funding from Colorado.
"It's about time," John Evans, director of Veterans 4 Freedoms, told The Denver Post. "It's been a long struggle. She's jumped through a lot of hoops."
Sources: Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, The Denver Post, VICE / Photo Credit: Coaster420/Wikimedia Commons