On April 28, 2011, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration accepted MAPS’ protocol design for our study of marijuana for symptoms of PTSD in war veterans, stating that our revised protocol successfully addresses their previous concerns. Once again, the FDA has demonstrated its willingness to evaluate studies on the basis of scientific merit rather than political partisanship.
Although both MAPS and the FDA are satisfied with the protocol design, we cannot begin the study until passes yet another review process with the National Institute on Drug Abuse/Public Health Service (NIDA/PHS). This redundant review, which may take another year or more, is required solely because NIDA has a monopoly on the supply of marijuana for research, and NIDA/PHS must review the protocol before allowing us to purchase marijuana from the agency. NIDA’s mission does not include exploring the potential beneficial uses of marijuana.
MAPS has been pressuring the federal government through hearings, lawsuits, and appeals for over a decade to allow us to grow our own marijuana. The DEA has refused to accept the recommendation of its own Administrative Law Judge that it would be in the public interest for Professor Lyle Craker of the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, to receive a license to grow marijuana for research regulated by the FDA.
Many U.S. veterans already use medical marijuana to deal with their symptoms of PTSD. MAPS is seeking to conduct the first clinical trial testing the use of the smoked or vaporized marijuana plant in PTSD patients. Now the PHS/NIDA will decide if MAPS can obtain marijuana for 50 suffering veterans.