A team of researchers interested in finding out whether cannabis could treat PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) among veterans finally registered its 76th study participant on Veterans Day.
The Scottsdale Research Institute located in Phoenix, AZ got permission from the FDA to conduct the research in 2010. The researchers then started recruiting study participants in 2016 but hit several speed bumps in their efforts to get the required minimum number of participants (76 veterans).
First, the researchers were denied access to the veterans’ hospital just 20-miles away from the facility where the research is being conducted. The Veterans Affairs department refused to grant access because federal laws regarded cannabis as a substance that didn’t have any medicinal value.
Public hospitals and universities in Arizona also refused to cooperate with the researchers as they recruited study participants citing federal laws as restricting them from being part of a study on an illegal substance.
These challenges nearly made the researchers widen the scope of the research so that non-veterans could also be allowed to enroll.
However, such a move would have defeated the purpose of the study since the researchers were specifically interested in investigating whether cannabis could treat PTSD in military veterans. The search for participants therefore dragged on as thousands were screened and rejected for not meeting the strict requirements of the study.
Gradually, the number of eligible participants started growing until the climax was reached almost two years after the recruitment exercise for participants started.
The researchers now have the 76 participants that they need to proceed with their randomized, controlled study of how marijuana can help veterans with chronic forms of PTSD.
Each day, the study participants will be given 1.8 grams of marijuana. This cannabis will vary in potency and the participants will keep a journal of how they feel or anything else noteworthy during the study period. The participants will also be free to decide how much of that daily ration to smoke.
The study subjects will visit the research institute 17 times during the 12-week duration of the study. The participants will then be followed up for six months after the initial 12-weeks of treatment with cannabis.
The researchers hope to publish their findings in 2019 after getting a definitive answer of whether cannabis can treat PTSD in veterans, and whether it has any adverse effects on those former servicemen and women.
This research comes at a time when efforts are being made to pass House Bills aimed at regulating and granting access to medical cannabis by veterans. The scientific community and cannabis industry players, such as Cannabis Strategic Ventures, Inc. (OTC: NUGS) and Canopy Rivers Inc. (TSX.V: RIV) await the results of this Phoenix study.
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