New Marijuana/PTSD Study Initiated

Executive Director Rick Doblin, Ph.D., Research and Information Specialist Ilsa Jerome, Ph.D., and Clinical Research Associate Berra Yazar-Klosinski, Ph.D. Candidate are exploring funding and collaborating on a new study of medical marijuana for the treatment of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) with principal investigator Sue Sisley, M.D. The study is tentatively titled "Placebo-controlled, double-blind study of the safety and efficacy of smoked cannabis in 30 veterans with PTSD."

This study is currently designed to enroll 32 veterans diagnosed with PTSD by the clinician administered PTSD scale (CAPS). Scores of 50 or higher can be included in a placebo-controlled, double-blind study of self-administered smoked cannabis for the treatment of PTSD symptoms. Study duration will be six weeks. Participants will be randomly assigned to one of four conditions, receive 2 grams per day of 1) placebo, 2) 6% THC, 3) 12% THC cannabis, or 4) 6%thc/6%CBD cannabis. The study will begin with an hour-long baseline assessment of PTSD symptoms and one 30-minute introductory session to prepare subjects for the use of marijuana. This will be followed by self-administration of cannabis for four weeks. PTSD symptoms will be assessed at four weeks, followed by a two week medication cessation period after the cannabis use has stopped, and a third 60-minute assessment of PTSD symptoms at six weeks. Participants who originally received the placebo can enroll in a second open-label segment following identical study procedures where they can choose to receive full doses of either 6% THC, 12 % cannabis, or 6%THC/6%CBD cannabis.

The proposed study has already received informal comments about the design from health personnel inside the Department of Veterans Affairs. MAPS has applied for grant from the Marijuana Policy Project to partially fund this study.