Public Health Service Approves Medical Marijuana Study, Marking Historic Shift in Federal Policy

On March 14, 2014, in an historic shift in federal policy, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services granted permission for MAPS to purchase marijuana from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) for our planned study of marijuana for symptoms of PTSD in U.S. veterans. We have 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, the sole provider of marijuana for federally regulated research in the United States. We have been denied permission to purchase NIDA marijuana for two prior FDA- and IRB-approved studies and one laboratory vaporizer study, preventing them from taking place. It took over four and a half months for reviewers at the Public Health Service (PHS) to respond to our October 24, 2013, protocol resubmission, after initially rejecting the protocol on September 16, 2011. The study still requires final approval from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, for which Principal Investigator Dr. Sue Sisley’s Schedule I application was submitted on March 25.  We are optimistic the DEA will approve the study in a timely manner. The study will also require funding support. "When it comes to researching the medical potential of Schedule I drugs," said MAPS Founder Rick Doblin, "Privately funded medical marijuana drug development research has been the last domino to fall." The tide has turned for medical marijuana research, and we look forward to starting the study.

View the approval letter from HHS