Ongoing Studies

Cannabis vs. PTSD

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Dr. Sue Sisley says she was abruptly fired in  2014 from a faculty position at the University of Arizona when her long  planned study of cannabis as a treatment for PTSD became a political  hot button among local politicians. Sisley ultimately prevailed, and now  serves as one of two principal investigators in a multi-site study  sponsored by the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) and funded by a $2.1 million grant from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

The world’s first controlled clinical trial evaluating  smoked medical cannabis as a treatment for PTSD is a triple-blind,  outpatient, randomized, placebo-controlled study of 76 combat veterans  randomly assigned either a high-THC strain, a high-CBD strain, a 1:1  THC/CBD ratio strain, or a placebo. Currently in its third year, the  study has proceeded well, but in the meantime, PTSD-related suicides remain at epidemic levels among US combat veterans.

CBD Stops Seizures

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 In direct response to a flood of inquiries from parents of epileptic children, the US federal government in 2014 quietly fast-tracked  a trial of cannabidiol (CBD) as a treatment for seizure disorders,  proving that political pressure can indeed push them to approve studies  into the potential benefits of cannabinoids. But while many advocates  sought to test whole-plant  or full-spectrum medicines, the study has been strictly limited to a  single compound found in cannabis—not coincidentally one supplied in  “purified” form by GW Pharmaceuticals, which also funded the study, and  is currently seeking FDA approval to sell the a prescription CBD  medicine called Epidiolex.   

In May 2018, the New England Journal of Medicine published an update  on this ongoing research showing that patients taking just 20mg of CBD  per kilogram of body weight had 42% fewer seizures, on average, compared  with a 17% reduction in the placebo group.

According to a comprehensive report  on the study from Leafly’s Ryan Basen, these extremely promising  results have GW Pharmaceutical’s CBD drug on track for imminent FDA  approval.

“If approved, Epidiolex would become the first  medication derived from the cannabis plant allowed in the US. The FDA  has previously approved synthetic cannabis medications, which more  closely resemble tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), but nothing plant-derived  nor anything featuring CBD.
Sativex, a GW Pharma product that incorporates both THC  and CBD, has been approved for medical use outside the U.S. Epidiolex  features a solution of 100 mg/ml of CBD dissolved in sesame oil,  ethanol, sweetener, and a flavoring agent, according to the FDA review.  The medication is harvested from cannabis plants specifically bred for  medical purposes, with high CBD concentration, according to a GW  Pharmaceuticals report.”