NEW YORK (MainStreet) — The non-profit Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) was awarded $2 million by The Colorado Department Public Health and Environment.
“We will be studying using marijuana to treat chronic resistant Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in 76 veterans,” said Rick Doblin, founder and executive director of MAPS. “Half will be treated at Johns Hopkins and half will be treated in Phoenix under the direction of of a doctor.”
Some $107,000 of the $2 million will be paid to purchase marijuana from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA).
“To the extent that people have unreasonable fears about marijuana, this study can help clear that up because the use of marijuana by patients in a clinical setting is a whole different set of risks than legalization of non-medical use,” Doblin told MainStreet.
The veterans will be provided with a week’s supply for use at home.
“This is a breakthrough study involving take-home medication so patients can use it the way they normally might and not in a hospital setting for three months,” said Doblin.
The public education study’s aim is legalizing the prescription use of marijuana for PTSD and requires two years of evaluation and one year of writing and publication.
“We know cannabis is good for suppressing nausea and relieving pain, but we don’t have a lot of detail on how it works,” said Taylor West, deputy director with the National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA). “There are lots of anecdotal indications that cannabis can be helpful in relieving PTSD and other conditions, and that’s what these grants are aiming towards proving.”
MAPS is among the organizations that are receiving more than $8 million set aside by the state for unbiased cannabis studies.
“One area of research interest for us is identifying strains or delivery methods for certain conditions and any research aimed at discovering new conditions that could be treated by cannabis but have not so far,” West told MainStreet.
For now, the money collected from application fees paid by medical marijuana patients will fund several medical research projects that include comparing cannabis to oxycodone for pain relief, pediatric epilepsy, irritable bowel syndrome and brain tumors.
“The idea is to do medical research around cannabis without the end goal being to prove that it’s harmful,” said West. “That has been the motive of the federal government to get funding. It is a great step forward to focus on the positive impact of the medical benefits because it has been nearly impossible to get federal grant money for that purpose.”
-Written for MainStreet by Juliette Fairley