Research Says VA Hospital Is Obstructing Research into Marijuana's Effects on PTSD

A major study about marijuana's effects on treating post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) began last February, but so far it's been difficult to make any conclusions. And the reason is obstruction from Veterans Affairs' hospitals.

Arizona psychiatrist Sue Sisley has been trying to study marijuana's ability to help those suffering with PTSD since 2009. After finally getting approval to begin in February, she's been able to enroll 25 subjects. But Sisley says she needs at least 76 people in the study to make any reasonable conclusions, but the Phoenix VA hospital is not cooperating.

"Despite our best efforts to work with the Phoenix VA hospital and share information about the study," Sisley writes in a letter to Secretary of Veterans Affairs David Shulkin, "they have been unwilling to assist by providing information to their patients and medical staff about a federally legal clinical trial happening right in their backyard that is of crucial importance to the veteran community."

She says if the current rate of recruitment continues, the study will not finish within the timeframe required by the $2.2 million grant she received from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

The hospital points out that marijuana is still illegal at the federal level, and they cannot recommend their patients to engage in illegal activity. Sisley's reaching out directly to Shulkin to intervene and allow her to actively recruit at the hospital for her study.

The Department of Veterans Affairs has a complicated relationship with medical marijuana. Despite substantial evidence that cannabis can treat many afflictions and conditions suffered by veterans, VA hospitals and doctors are barred from prescribing marijuana even in states where it's legal. 

Many veterans' organizations, including the American Legion, have openly called on the Department to allow VA doctors to prescribe marijuana. And Shulkin himself has previously expressed some openness to allowing veterans to use medicinal cannabis.

But it looks like until the federal government wises up and makes marijuana legal, veterans will continue to have restricted access to all their medical options.

Photo: Ken Wolter /


Some try to predict the future by reading tea leaves, but Bill Maher turned to a different type of leaf to figure out who would be the ultimate candidate for the 2020 election. The 'Real Time' host recently revealed that the ideal candidate dawned on him one night when he was having a puff of weed and wondering who had the best chance to defeat Donald Trump in 2020. Like many pundits, Maher has obsessed over this question ever since Trump's surprise win over Hilary Clinton in 2016.

Can we see some ID please?

You must be 19 years of age or older to enter.