For the very first time, the FDA has approved a study on the effects of cannabis on veterans suffering from PTSD. The groundbreaking study is being led by Dr. Sue Sisley, who used to oppose cannabis until she saw the devastation that PTSD and opioids have done to the veteran community.
"I was dismissive and judgmental, then I started losing a lot of vets in my practice to suicide, and it became a big wake-up call," she said at a symposium focusing on cannabis issues and controversies, reports Healio. "The veteran community has a higher rate of prescription drug overdose, and many vets discovered they can substitute cannabis for the more addictive medications they’ve been prescribed, which is how we started to examine this."
Pursing this study hasn't been easy for Sisley. She struggled for 7 years with the government to get the go-ahead on her research, and lost her job at the University of Arizona once the study was approved - a classic incident of 'green listing'.
But now that she's secured funding from the University of Colorado, the stage is set for being the world's first controlled clinical study on how smoking cannabis works as a treatment for PTSD.
Researchers will look at the effects of three types of cannabis: strains with high THC content, strains with high CBD content (one of the non-psychoactive compounds in cannabis proven to be effective in anxiety relief) and strains with an even balance of both of the aforementioned compounds.
With the majority of veterans in support of medical marijuana, these kinds of studies couldn't come any sooner. Even the most recent Secretary of Veterans Affairs - David Shulkin - thinks there might be something to using cannabis to heal the unseen wounds caused by war.