Dr. Sue Sisley is seeking participants for her Scottsdale, Arizona-based PTSD study. She needs 76 people with PTSD willing to participate. Due to the lack of veterans willing or able to participate, she’s currently considering including civilians who suffer from PTSD.
The study is funded by Colorado-based Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), according to RMPBS. MAPS has had a research contract with Colorado since April 2016 that spans over a three-year period.
Dr. Sisley said, “The biggest blockade right now…is the fact that the Phoenix VA hospital will not allow us access. I worry that we won’t be able to complete this study because the absolute highest density of treatment-resistant PTSD patients is in that hospital.”
The FDA has approved the study, but according to the Phoenix VA hospital, federal law prevents the hospital from allowing access to patients for the purpose of marijuana research.
Paul Coupaud, a VA public affairs officer, said, “It’s not that we’re against helping her, it’s just that the laws and policies – things like implied endorsement, relations with non-federal entities, and VA research – don’t allow it.”
Less than 30 veterans have been accepted into the study after thousands of men and women were prescreened.
Dr. Sisley composed a letter to the Secretary of Veterans Affairs, David Shulkin, asking for his assistance in obtaining access to the VA. She said, “If we don’t see a surge in veteran enrollment in the next month, we will change the focus of the study to include PTSD of all kinds.”
The study is triple-blind. Sleep patterns are tracked and blood work is taken several times. Four different potencies, including a placebo, are administered.
Larry Wolk, Chief Medical Director for the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment said, “This was a very unique… once in a lifetime opportunity for us. We’ve certainly heard from a large number of veterans that they believe that marijuana is helpful for their PTSD, but we’ve also heard from a number of veterans and treatment providers that it may be harmful.”
Ken Gersham of Marijuana Research Grants Program said, “CDPHE thinks this is a very important study to add to the very limited evidence base about the efficacy of marijuana for treatment of PTSD. Therefore, we want to do everything within our powers to support the efforts and hopeful success of the study.”
To learn more about participating, call 623-587-5660 or visit SRIResearch.org.