The cannabis plant contains thousands of different compounds, each of which uniquely benefits the human body. Cannabidiol (CBD) and THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) are two of the most commonly sought-after compounds contained in cannabis. THC is commonly known for its psychoactive effects, while CBD is often used for pain relief, relaxation, and more.
Because of this, medical cannabis strains are sometimes CBD-dominant. Medical cannabis has been proven to be an effective remedy against numerous physical and mental illnesses. Users consume it for pain relief, stress relief, to help alleviate anxiety, and even use it while battling severe diseases like epilepsy and cancer.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorders (PTSD) is one of the disorders that users seek medical cannabis to help treat. According to one estimate, approximately 8 million people across the US are battling PTSD, which is why a vast amount of research is being done to see if and how cannabis can help those with the disorder.
In this article, we will shed light on some of these studies that highlight the association between cannabis and PTSD.
MAPS Has Been Granted $13M for Studies on PTSD
The Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Substances (MAPS) was awarded nearly $13 million in August 2021 to study the association between cannabis and PTSD. The grant has been awarded to this institution by the state of Michigan.
Experts have argued that these research studies are much needed due to the increasing number of veteran suicides, often linked to PTSD. According to the president of the Scottsdale Research Institute, this is a widely recognized crisis that under this award, the FDA itself will oversee research on.
Since the FDA will be overseeing the project, advocates are also hopeful that it is only a matter of time before the federal government grants medical cannabis a legal status. Additionally, DEA will also be involved in the studies conducted under this grant.
The Scope of Study
This study will be the second placebo-controlled study of its kind (the first study was funded by the MAPS itself). It identified the potential benefits and drawbacks of using cannabis for PTSD, and saw a significant improvement in participants over a period of three weeks.
The current study will include four trials with 320 veterans who pass the eligibility criteria for the study and are diagnosed with PTSD. The sample will also include veterans with substance abuse problems.
Three weeks into the study, participants will be given top-grade botanical cannabis, which they will consume on a self-administered basis for a period of five weeks. This entire process will be part of phase one of the study.
In the second phase, participants will be provided with medical cannabis, which will allow the researchers to identify the differences in results between placebo and medical cannabis effects. Rick Doblin, who is the founder of MAPS, conveyed his gratitude towards the people of Michigan whose tax money is being used to pay for the study.
Doblin said that the taxpayers of the state would benefit from the results of this study, which may restructure the laws and insurance coverage around cannabis. In other words, medical cannabis will be treated as a pharmaceutical drug with insurance coverage after the conclusion of this study.
Another similar smaller-scale study was previously done to find out the difference in the effects of a placebo vs medical cannabis for PTSD. That study did not find much difference between the group that took the placebo and the group that used medical cannabis to treat PTSD.
However, since this study is being done on a larger scale with greater funds, experts believe that its results can significantly impact the laws and regulations regarding CBD consumption for PTSD in Michigan.
What Researchers Seek to Achieve
Up to 20% of the veterans in the US have been associated with post-traumatic stress disorder to some extent. To be more precise, 12% of the veterans who participated in the Gulf War have been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorders. Similarly, around 15% of those who participated in the Vietnam war suffer from PTSD.
The Chief Scientific Officer of MAPS Public Benefit Corporation (MAPS PBC), Dr. Berra Yazar-Klosinski, stated that this study would remove the obstacles researchers found in previous or similar studies.
According to him, several regulatory issues hindered other studies in identifying the full scope of medical cannabis for PTSD; this study will overcome those hindrances, enabling it to provide more accurate results.
Furthermore, as mentioned, this is the second study of its kind. Dr. Yazar-Klosinski said that it will leverage the findings of the previous study, which will enable it to become a “fully powered clinical trial.”
Dr. Rakesh Jetly is also overseeing this clinical trial. He has served in the Canadian Armed Forces as a psychiatrist and medical officer for thirty years.
His involvement in the study further ensures that it will move forward with a more practical approach since Dr. Rakesh will be able to better understand and empathize with the veterans.
This study by MAPS can offer a significant breakthrough in the world of medical cannabis and its effects on patients who have PTSD since it is being led by some of the most eligible personnel and has a fiscal backing of nearly $13 million. The results are also expected to leave a positive impact on Michigan’s cannabis sector and the state’s economy.
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