Fox 7 Austin highlights a veteran's testimonial in support of MAPS' planned study of the benefits of medical marijuana for symptoms of PTSD. "Every veteran who has used cannabis as an alternative to medication, to opiates and to psychotropic drugs testifies that cannabis was very effective, much less dangerous," says veteran Dave Bass, Director of Veterans Outreach for Texas NORML. "You can't overdose on it."
Originally appearing here.
The Federal government has finally given the green light to a study on the effects of marijuana in veterans suffering from PTSD — bringing them one step closer to actually learning more about the positive effects of marijuana.
The University of Arizona has been working on getting this study together for four years. First they needed approval from the FDA and they got it.
Next, they needed the Department of Health and Human Services. Last week, years later…they finally got their stamp of approval.
Dave Bass from Killeen is a retired Army veteran with 21 years of service.
He served in Desert Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom.
When he came back in 2006, he experienced what many veterans go through — symptoms like sleeplessness, nightmares, paranoia, anger and intrusive thoughts.
"I had these when I came back from Iraq and I checked myself into the mental health clinic at Fort Hood before I retired and that's when I was diagnosed with PTSD," Bass said.
Since then Bass has been the Director of Veterans Outreach for "Texas NORML"– a group that lobbies for the legalization of marijuana.
"Every veteran who has used cannabis as an alternative to medication, to opiates and to psychotropic drugs testifies that cannabis was very effective, much less dangerous. You can't overdose on it," Bass said.
Now the University of Arizona has been given approval by the Federal government to see if marijuana really has positive effects on veterans with PTSD.
"Yes and veterans are talking about it all over the internet, all over Facebook," Bass said.
"There'll be 70 veterans that all have treatment resistant PTSD. So that means they have post-traumatic stress disorder that has failed multiple medication trials and psychotherapy," said Dr. Sue Sisley, the principal investigator of the study.
Sisley says some of her critics are worried the study drug will end up being sold on the streets. She says they've put in safe guards so that won't happen. Plus, she says the veterans she's encountered aren't trying to abuse marijuana, they're just trying to get some relief — mostly at night to suppress the nightmares and get some sleep.
"…Not trying to get stoned, you know when you're sick and you're a serious medical patient, you're not trying to get high you're just trying to be functional," Sisley said.
"We believe that the studies are going to show that cannabis is effective to treat PTSD and we believe that that will then cut off any debate or should cut off any debate about whether veterans should have access to this medicine," Bass said.
This new study is a big step but it is just a step…Dr. Sisley says next they need approval from the DEA. And she says much like Health and Human Services, they have no time table to respond. So it could be 10 months or 10 years.
But she's hoping the attention this is getting will help push it through.