DEA Allows Study of Cannabis for PTSD

For the first time in its history, the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) has said “yes” to drugs.

by Holly Highlife
Last month the agency approved the use of actual marijuana plants to study its ability to treat PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) in military veterans. Previous studies have used synthesized cannabis or oil.

On April 20th (coincidence?), contracts were signed with the State of Colorado, according to the Military Times. The University of Colorado, along with researchers at the University of Arizona, and Johns Hopkins University, will be conducting the study. It will include 76 veterans diagnosed with treatment resistant PTSD.

“We have quite a few clients acknowledge that cannabis use has been beneficial to them,” says Maka Kala’i, Director of Marketing and Sales for Organic Alternatives. “The majority of people who have told me they have PTSD have been veterans.”

The current official stance of the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs is: “…There is no evidence at this time that marijuana is an effective  treatment for PTSD.”

As a country at war for more than a decade, it is no wonder we associate PTSD with military combat. However, PTSD can be caused by many traumatic situations. lists rape and assault, witnessed death, terrorist attacks, natural disasters, abuse, kidnapping, car or plane crashes or severe threats to your life or personal safety as causes of PTSD.

Not everyone is going to disclose they have PTSD, but OA bud tenders have heard their share of stories. “Quite a few clients are very open about their diagnoses,” says Kala’i.

When recommending strains for PTSD, “We tend to lean towards Indica and Indica hybrids.” Indica strains tend toward a calming, relaxing effect. He also recommends two strains called Shark Shock and AC/DC.

Both strains have a lower THC content and contain CBD. Most strains of cannabis contain little CBD and are high in THC, the psychoactive agent in cannabis. “Shark Shock and AC/DC are great because of their high level of CBD which helps with anxiety and pain,” says Kala’i.

On a national level an organization called Veterans for Medical Cannabis Access (VMCA) is working to “protect the rights of veteran patients and health care professionals by advocating for safe and legal access to cannabis (marijuana) for all appropriate therapeutic uses and to encourage research on cannabis as a treatment alternative.”

The comprehensive website even has a PTSD specific newsletter.

Kala’i says when recreational cannabis sales became legal the store saw a spike in clients seeking help for PTSD. The laid-back vibe, natural light and open feel at Organic Alternatives are all designed to put customers at ease.

“The passage of Amendment 64 gave those without a medical MMJ card and visitors from out of state the opportunity to try cannabis for their PTSD.” Anecdotal evidence points to the success of cannabis in treating the symptom of PTSD. “People relocate to Colorado for our cannabis,” says Kala’i.

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