Cannabis Research for Veterans: PTSD Study First of its Kind

PTSD study - A new study is looking into how marijuana could affect veterans suffering from PTSD

In a first-of-its-kind study, Arizona researchers are conducting clinical trials on the effects marijuana has on veterans with PTSD. The Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies' clinical trials to study marijuana as a treatment for veterans with PTSD has been underway since last October and is studying volunteers residing in the state. More volunteers are needed.

The study is being conducted with the help of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, which donated more than $2 million for the research study. 

Dr. Sue Sisley is heading the study at the Scottsdale Research Institute and is researching the effectiveness of smoking marijuana for veterans with PTSD. At least 22 military veterans take their own lives daily after succumbing to PTSD, and Sisley says that veterans tell her marijuana has saved their lives. The study is focusing on veterans with severe PTSD.  

The state Legislature introduced a bill in April that authorizes the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to conduct research on the effectiveness of marijuana on veterans diagnosed with chronic pain or PTSD. The VA Medicinal Cannabis Research Act of 2018 also allows the VA to support additional research.  

Veterans seem to prefer marijuana to prescription drugs often used to treat PTSD. A 71-year-old Vietnam vet named Lorenzo Sullivan told reporters that the pills he was prescribed ruined his life. 

"Just read the side effects of some of this stuff. No sane person would take that stuff," said Sullivan, adding that he may have been able to save his marriage and his job as an investment banker had he been allowed to consume marijuana sooner rather than taking pills.   

Sisley says that despite the new legislation, the VA has not provided any assistance to her study. More than 83 percent of veterans support legalizing medical marijuana.