A study aimed at determining whether cannabis can help relieve post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms is ready for volunteers, the Military Times reports. Ideal candidates will have a combat-related PTSD disability rating from the Department of Veterans Affairs.
The Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies program is funded by a $2.2 million grant from the state of Colorado. It will be conducted at Baltimore, Maryland’s Johns Hopkins University, and Phoenix, Arizona’s Scottsdale Research Institute.
Seventy-six veterans will participate in the study over 12 weeks, with about four subjects beginning each month at both sites. It is expected to take two years to complete. More than 100 veterans have already applied, said Dr. Sue Sisley, study organizer and physician at the Scottsdale site.
“We’re not arguing that cannabis is a cure, but our hypothesis is that it will at least reduce the symptoms,” she said in the report.
The study will utilize cannabis with high THC levels, high CBD levels, an equal ratio of THC and CBD, and a placebo with no significant levels of either compound. Scientists believe that high-THC cannabis acts on memory and fear processing receptors in the brain, while high-CBD cannabis may provide a role in reducing depression symptoms and anxiety. According to a Veterans Alliance for Medical Marijuana report, cannabis with equal ratios of THC and CBD is favored by combat veterans who are using the drug to combat PTSD symptoms.
Sisley recommends against daily marijuana users participating in the program because subjects will have to abstain from use for at least two weeks before the study begins.
“If they’ve already found that it’s beneficial to them, it wouldn’t be ideal for them to just stop,” she said. “That could be pretty brutal for them.”
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