After seven-year delays, the FDA have finally approved a weed trial for war veterans with post traumatic stress disorder or PTSD.
Tireless campaigning from activists and former soldiers has proven successful, as now an FDA-approved trial investigating cannabis as a treatment for PTSD gets underway.
Enrolment began in February on the ground-breaking study and this week, the researchers found their twelfth and final participant, reports Tonic for Vice.
An estimated 11 to 20 per cent of the U.S veterans who served in the early 2000s on the front lines of Iraq and Afghanistan have PTSD.
Yet many psychiatrists acknowledge that prolonged exposure – the ‘gold standard talk-therapy treatment’ for those suffering with crippling PTSD which changes the way the brain processes fear – does not work for all patients.
However, anecdotal evidence suggests war vets who self-medicate with pot see the symptoms of PTSD diminish.
A sniper for the Marine Corps, Robert Pickering, told Tonic:
I was at war and then I literally was in my parent’s basement drinking myself to death for three years. I was a mess. I’m by no means trying to preach cannabis. It’s just worked for me and it’s worked for a lot of guys.
Men like Pickering advocate what they believe is the life-changing potential of medical marijuana and travel America challenging government bodies to investigate the potential of pot – despite the dangers.
The federal classification of marijuana (Schedule I) defines the drug as having ‘no acceptable medical use’. Therefore, some vets risk losing disability payments provided by local Veterans Affairs hospital if they self-medicate with pot.
The Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), a research and educational nonprofit organisation, has also been campaigning to get the FDA to investigate medical marijuana in order to compile some empirical data.
That includes objective data on the addictive qualities of the drug, suspected ‘cannabis use disorder’ as well as potential side effects such as paranoia and acute psychotic episodes, which could be particularly heightened in patients with PTSD.
While cannabis isn’t thought by researchers to be a curative solution, it is hoped the drug will aid vets to manage their PTSD symptoms – which include insomnia, depression and anxiety.
There is also anecdotal evidence to suggest medical marijuana can ease the pain of cancer sufferers.
UNILAD caught up with one man determined to supply that little respite to those with a terminal illness, crediting the drug as ‘life-changing’.