For those conducting studies of the harmful effects of marijuana, the federal government has usually been willing to share from its stash, which comes from the only federally sanctioned pot farm in the country. But those looking to find positive uses for the drug have always found Uncle Sam to be bogarting his joint.
Until now. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has finally approved the sale of federally grown marijuana for a study that would research whether pot could help veterans cope with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). The Food and Drug Administration approved the study back in 2011, but University of Arizona Professor Suzanne Sisley, who will conduct the study, and the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), which is funding it, were unable to get marijuana.
“MAPS has been working for over 22 years to start marijuana drug development research, and this is the first time we’ve been granted permission to purchase marijuana from [the National Institute on Drug Abuse],” the group said in a statement.
MAPS head Rick Doblin had threatened to get veterans to go to Washington to protest the government’s lack of action. HHS’s marijuana review committee said it changed its mind and granted permission to purchase marijuana after Doblin made changes in his proposal.
Although many states have legalized the use of marijuana for medical reasons, the federal government still classifies it as a Schedule I narcotic, which means the drug is considered to have a high potential for abuse and no accepted medical utility.