Need For Medical Marijuana Research In Psychiatry Described as ‘Real and Urgent’
Medical marijuana is being used by patients around the world for a range of issues. PTSD has been the leading diagnosis among veterans seeking marijuana for medicinal relief however, researchers are saying that there has been very little research done on the subject of cannabis and psychological disorders, and that the need for it is ‘real and urgent.’
The US Department of Veterans Health Affairs funded several studies on cannabis and its use in the treatment of pain as well as in the treatment of PTSD. The study was mostly inconclusive and didn’t have enough data for anyone to form a conclusion. Despite the studies, the Secretary of Veteran’s Affairs Dr. David Shulkin stated earlier this year, “there may be some evidence that this is beginning to be helpful.” Veteran’s Affairs is not allowed to prescribe medical marijuana to veterans because they are part of the federal system that still categorizes marijuana as a schedule one drug.
Other studies have been optimistic about cannabis use in psychological disorders. One study published in Clinical Psychology Review by researcher Zach Walsh found that cannabis may be helpful in alleviating the symptoms of some disorders like PTSD, anxiety, and depression, however, they may have adverse effects on patients suffering from bi-polar disorder and schizophrenia. Walsh agrees that there is a real need for further studies on cannabis’ effects and benefits for psychological disorders.
The biggest obstacle to cannabis research in the field is its federally illegal status. Being federally illegal in the US, there is no grant money. Private grants have also steered away from cannabis research in the field due to the stigma that has been attached to it. As the stigma fades away over time, the only obstacle it seems in the US for cannabis research is the federal government, who have no plans on legalizing marijuana medically or otherwise anytime soon.