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THC for PTSD: Marijuana Military Study Approved

In a landmark decision for marijuana grassroots activism, a study on marijuana as treatment for veterans suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) has been approved. It is the first time that the federal government has allowed medical research of smoked or vaporized marijuana.

The Food and Drug Administration approved the proposal from the University of Arizona several years earlier. However scientists were unable to purchase legal marijuana for the experiment because it had not been sanctioned by the Department of Health and Human Services. Now researchers can procure all the cannabis they need from the Drug Enforcement Agency’s (DEA) research farm in Mississippi.

The DEA has been growing marijuana at a research facility in Mississippi since 1968. It is the only federally-sanctioned source of the drug in the US.

Raphael Mechoulam, Ph.D is an Israeli neuroscientist who identified THC as the psychoactive compound in marijuana during the 1960s. He has been studying the effects of the drug on the brain’s endocannabinoid system for decades.

According to a study conducted by Mechoulam, THC is linked to memory extinction in mice. Lab rats were less likely to cringe after an electronic shock when they were exposed to the substance. This has potential applications for veterans dealing with post-traumatic stress.

Mechoulam continues to point out that marijuana is much less potent than other drugs used in similar studies, such as MDMA, LSD and morphine.

Last year researchers at New York University Langone Medical Center found a connection between PTSD and the cannaboid receptors in the human brain. Cannaboid receptors are activated when someone gets high on marijuana.

The evidence showed that veterans with PTSD had more cannaboid receptors in the areas of the brain associated with fear and anxiety. That may be why some traumatized veterans see better results with marijuana use than with prescription anti-depressants and opiates.

Veterans see the horrors of war in explicit detail during their service. Today almost 300,000 veterans have been diagnosed with PTSD. Many of them choose to self-medicate using medical marijuana.