Feds Stress Out Over Proposed PTSD Pot Study

Originally appearing at http://hightimes.com/news/mmiller/7332. The federal government has, temporarily at least, sidelined the optimism over the anticipated study involving medical marijuana use to treat symptoms of combat veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Originally green-lit by the FDA in April, the research was to be conducted by the nonprofit Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS). Since 1986, MAPS has sponsored research into psychedelics and medical marijuana with the ultimate goal of having such drugs legalized for prescription use. However, the U.S. Health and Human Services Dept (HHS) currently refuses to sell government-grown pot to MAPS for the PTSD research until a series of conditions are met – only problem is, the HHS requests are contradictory, leaving MAPS unsure how to proceed to satisfy all involved. Rick Doblin, director of MAPS and the man directly responsible for the pot/PTSD project, told The Washington Post: “Their [Health and Human Services Dept.] goal at higher levels, I think, is to block the study.” Doblin’s assessment seems plausible, as a five-member committee from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) must approve the study proposal. Yet it’s difficult for MAPS to meet the requirements when one committee member wants the PTSD patients to be only those who’ve never smoked marijuana, while another requests only pot smokers – for fear of such “virgin tokers” unfamiliar with the mind-expanding and mood-altering effects of THC experiencing anxiety or panic attacks. One of the NIDA members expressed concerns that the supplied medicine would be “diverted” – sold or given to nonparticipants. Because that’s just what MAPS wants to do, take all the time, energy and resources devoted to gaining government authorization and provided medicine to conduct this critical study, and then throw it all away by selling a few ounces of weed on the side. Not to mention that Doblin already met the FDA drug-diversion mandates in advance, as all participants will be required to record all uses of medicine and return all unused portions. Doblin plans to amend the study proposal and resubmit it to the NIDA committee. If they eventually approve it, then Doblin must gain DEA approbation as well. If MAPS is somehow able to meet the contrary criteria, the HHS will sell them a total of 13 pounds of medi-pot grown at the University of Mississippi, to be distributed for the PTSD patient research on a weekly basis. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) gave MAPS permission to initiate research on the effects marijuana and people with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The Health and Human Services Department (HHS) has refused to sell researchers the government-grown marijuana necessary for the research until a list of contradictory conditions are met.