Post-traumatic stress disorder is a diagnosis commonly attributed to veterans who have seen combat. It’s a condition that can debilitate someone with flashbacks, depression, and severe anxiety. Psychological treatment can help, but another form of treatment (that happens to be illegal in most states) could be even more effective—cannabis.
Recently, lawmakers in Michigan decided to add PTSD to the list of diagnoses eligible for medical marijuana treatment. They are part of a growing and smart trend that could bring relief to thousands who suffer from the effects of traumatic events.
“I hope they can find some peace to this,” said David Brogren, who sits on a Michigan state review panel that recommended the change. “I hope they can use medical marijuana to sleep or to have the bad dreams go away, or not be repeated as much. I hope it’ll mask some of the pain they have that will keep them safe and their families safe.”
The decision there comes shortly after the federal government signed off on research to look at the effects of medical marijuana in PTSD treatment. The FDA cleared the study from the University of Arizona “long ago”, according to the Huffington Post, but the researchers had yet been unable to purchase marijuana from the only federally-sanctioned pot farm run by the National Institute on Drug Abuse. (Yes, the federal government grows marijuana).
Now, the Department of Health and Human Services finally cleared that purchase and final approval from the Drug Enforcement Agency is expected to come more quickly.
“MAPS has been working for over 22 years to start marijuana drug development research, and this is the first time we’ve been granted permission to purchase marijuana from NIDA,” said a statement from the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, the chief financial backer of the proposed research.
The study will look at the effects of five different potencies of marijuana, smoked or vaporized, in 50 veterans.
In Michigan, the decision to allow those suffering from PTSD access to marijuana marks the first psychological condition added to their list of approved diagnoses. It could open the door to one day allowing the state-approved marijuana treatment of common conditions like depression and anxiety, and later the full-on legalization of marijuana.