Late last month, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) accepted a proposal from the Santa Cruz Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) on a protocol to study cannabis as a possible treatment for PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) in veterans of war.

The FDA’s approval is an important step in MAPS’ desire to begin research, and the organization has stated that the current protocol adequately addresses all concerns it has, so long as the researchers can obtain cannabis for the study. Unfortunately, there is only once source of cannabis: the U.S. Government itself.

Even more unfortunately, the National Institute on Drug Abuse / Public Health Service (NIDA/PHS) also has to approve the MAPS study before work can begin. And this approval won’t be so easy to obtain. Why not? It seems that even though the FDA is more than willing to evaluate such studies on the basis of scientific merit, NIDA/PHS tends to play politics, thus blocking medical marijuana studies from commencing.

In the words of MAPS Director of Communications, Brad Burge, “This redundant review, which may take another year or more, is required solely because NIDA has a monopoly on the supply of marijuana for research. NIDA/PHS must review and accept the protocol before allowing us to purchase marijuana from NIDA. This process is biased from the start, since NIDA’s mission does not include exploring the potential beneficial uses of marijuana.”

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