Marijuana Treatment Study on PTSD for Veterans Gets Back on Track | Military.com


Marijuana Treatment Study on PTSD or Veterans Get Back on Track

In this photo taken Tuesday, Jan. 13, 2015, marijuana is measured in 3.5-gram amounts and placed in cans for packaging at the Pioneer Production and Processing marijuana growing facility in Arlington, Wash.

A year after the federal government approved a study for the use of marijuana by veterans in treating post-traumatic stress disorder the work may at last get underway. on Wednesday informed the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies that it is ready to supply researchers with marijuana needed for the study, Brad Burge, spokesman for MAPS, told Military.com.

The study will mark the first federally approved study in which the subjects will be able to ingest the marijuana by smoking it, he said. It will also be “the first whole-plant marijuana study,” meaning the marijuana will not simply be an extract of the cannabis in a manufactured delivery system, such as a pill.

The National Institute of Drug Abuse’s (NIDA) decision had been a long time coming, according to Burge, but that delay was only one of the setbacks after the Department of Health and Human Services, the Food and Drug Administration and the Drug Enforcement Agency cleared the way for the research last year.

The plan also was sidetracked because it lost the University of Arizona as one of two testing sites when the school fired the lead researcher, Dr. Suzanne Sisley, after the government approved the project. The university did not explain the sudden termination, though reports at the time suggested the school was looking to avoid conflict with Arizona lawmakers opposed to the study.Some veterans criticized the firing. Ricardo Pereyda, an Iraq War veteran and alumnus of the university, launched a petition calling for Sisley’s reinstatement and university support for the study. The petition garnered more than 100,000 names, but the university did not respond.”I suffered from severe post-traumatic-stress,” Pereyda wrote in the petition. “I was prescribed a cocktail of prescription drugs from the VA for years; they didn’t help.” He said he began using marijuana exclusively in 2010 to treat multiple symptoms of PTSD, including insomnia, depression, anxiety, and panic attacks.

He said the marijuana has helped him “live a more full and productive life.”Shortly after her firing, the state of Colorado awarded Sisley a $2 million grant for her work.Burge said 76 veterans will take part in the study, which will measure the effects of different potencies of smoked marijuana in treating their symptoms.In NIDA’s message to MAPS Executive Director Rick Doblin on Tuesday, the agency detailed the marijuana it would have available. NIDA has three of the four kinds of marijuana it will need for the study, including a “placebo” strain, according to Doblin,The Veterans Affairs Department estimates that between 11 and 20 percent of Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans suffer from PTSD.

For veterans of the Persian Gulf War, the estimate is 12 percent, and for Vietnam veterans, 15 percent, the VA estimates.Burge said Sisley is in the process of setting up an independent laboratory as a new test site. For that reason MAPS had to seek renewed approval from HHS, which it got last month. FDA approval was renewed automatically when it did not respond to the amended application after 30 days, he said.The DEA has still to approve the study again, but Burge does not expect that to be a problem.The study also has won renewed approval for its research protocol from two university-affiliated institutional review boards.

These boards assess study protocols to ensure the safety of the participants and the quality of the research procedures.The Institutional Review Board at the University of Pennsylvania, where one of the study’s principal investigators works, provided approval, as did Copernicus Independent Review Board of North Carolina where Sisley submitted her proposal.

“We are now waiting to hear back from the IRB at Johns Hopkins,” which will be the second venue for the actual study, Burge said. “We anticipate getting clearance … in the next several weeks.”Once the Johns Hopkins board gives its approval and Sisley’s research laboratory is in place, MAPS will go to DEA to request the necessary federal license to buy the marijuana, he said.

Elaine Thompson/APApr 02, 2015

via Marijuana Treatment Study on PTSD for Veterans Gets Back on Track | Military.com.

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Marijuana Treatment Study on PTSD for Veterans Gets Back on Track | Military.com


Marijuana Treatment Study on PTSD for Veterans Gets Back on Track

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Marijuana Treatment Study on PTSD for Veterans Gets Back on Track

In this photo taken Tuesday, Jan. 13, 2015, marijuana is measured in 3.5-gram amounts and placed in cans for packaging at the Pioneer Production and Processing marijuana growing facility in Arlington, Wash. Elaine Thompson/AP

In this photo taken Tuesday, Jan. 13, 2015, marijuana is measured in 3.5-gram amounts and placed in cans for packaging at the Pioneer Production and Processing marijuana growing facility in Arlington, Wash. Elaine Thompson/AP

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In this photo taken Tuesday, Jan. 13, 2015, marijuana is measured in 3.5-gram amounts and placed in cans for packaging at the Pioneer Production and Processing marijuana growing facility in Arlington, Wash. Elaine Thompson/AP

Apr 02, 2015 | by Bryant Jordan

A year after the federal government approved a study for the use of marijuana by veterans in treating post-traumatic stress disorder the work may at last get underway.

The National Institute of Drug Abuse on Wednesday informed the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies that it is ready to supply researchers with marijuana needed for the study, Brad Burge, spokesman for MAPS, told Military.com.

The study will mark the first federally approved study in which the subjects will be able to ingest the marijuana by smoking it, he said. It will also be “the first whole-plant marijuana study,” meaning the marijuana will not simply be an extract of the cannabis in a manufactured delivery system, such as a pill.

NIDA’s decision had been a long time coming, according to Burge, but that delay was only one of the setbacks after the Department of Health and Human Services, the Food and Drug Administration and the Drug Enforcement Agency cleared the way for the research last year.

The plan also was sidetracked because it lost the University of Arizona as one of two testing sites when the school fired the lead researcher, Dr. Suzanne Sisley, after the government approved the project. The university did not explain the sudden termination, though reports at the time suggested the school was looking to avoid conflict with Arizona lawmakers opposed to the study.

Some veterans criticized the firing. Ricardo Pereyda, an Iraq War veteran and alumnus of the university, launched a petition calling for Sisley’s reinstatement and university support for the study. The petition garnered more than 100,000 names, but the university did not respond.

“I suffered from severe post-traumatic-stress,” Pereyda wrote in the petition. “I was prescribed a cocktail of prescription drugs from the VA for years; they didn’t help.” He said he began using marijuana exclusively in 2010 to treat multiple symptoms of PTSD, including insomnia, depression, anxiety, and panic attacks. He said the marijuana has helped him “live a more full and productive life.”

Shortly after her firing, the state of Colorado awarded Sisley a $2 million grant for her work.

Burge said 76 veterans will take part in the study, which will measure the effects of different potencies of smoked marijuana in treating their symptoms.

In NIDA’s message to MAPS Executive Director Rick Doblin on Tuesday, the agency detailed the marijuana it would have available. NIDA has three of the four kinds of marijuana it will need for the study, including a “placebo” strain, according to Doblin,

The Veterans Affairs Department estimates that between 11 and 20 percent of Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans suffer from PTSD.  For veterans of the Persian Gulf War, the estimate is 12 percent, and for Vietnam veterans, 15 percent, the VA estimates.

Burge said Sisley is in the process of setting up an independent laboratory as a new test site. For that reason MAPS had to seek renewed approval from HHS, which it got last month. FDA approval was renewed automatically when it did not respond to the amended application after 30 days, he said.

The DEA has still to approve the study again, but Burge does not expect that to be a problem.

The study also has won renewed approval for its research protocol from two university-affiliated institutional review boards. These boards assess study protocols to ensure the safety of the participants and the quality of the research procedures.

The Institutional Review Board at the University of Pennsylvania, where one of the study’s principal investigators works, provided approval, as did Copernicus Independent Review Board of North Carolina where Sisley submitted her proposal.

“We are now waiting to hear back from the IRB at Johns Hopkins,” which will be the second venue for the actual study, Burge said. “We anticipate getting clearance … in the next several weeks.”

Once the Johns Hopkins board gives its approval and Sisley’s research laboratory is in place, MAPS will go to DEA to request the necessary federal license to buy the marijuana, he said.

— Bryant Jordan can be reached at bryant.jordan@military.com.

via Marijuana Treatment Study on PTSD for Veterans Gets Back on Track | Military.com.

Occupiers of church closed by Boston Archdiocese years ago fight order to vacate | Fox News


Occupiers of church closed by Boston Archdiocese years ago fight order to vacate

By Cristina Corbin Published May 29, 2015

Boston's St. Xavier Church

St. Frances Xavier Cabrini Church, pictured above, was closed in October 2004 by the Boston Archdiocese, citing financial difficulties and a decline in Mass attendance.

Members of St. Frances Xavier Cabrini Roman Catholic Church, which the Boston Archdiocese closed 11 years ago, say they have no plans to end their longstanding occupation of the church — even though the archdiocese originally gave them a Friday deadline to leave or else.

Since the announcement was made to close the church in October 2004, congregants have held vigils in shifts, 24 hours a day, seven days a week — sleeping on the floor and in pews and holding Sunday service, during which the occupants recite prayers, listen to Bible readings and receive consecrated hosts secretly provided by area priests. The gatherings are lay-led services, and the Eucharist is given to the congregation by Eucharistic ministers.

To the Archdiocese of Boston, a dwindling congregation and a shortage of priests, among other factors, marked the church for closure, which the Vatican supported. But congregants say it is the 30 acres of prime, ocean-view Boston real estate the church sits on that has the hierarchy looking to sell — and claim the archdiocese needs it to pay off clergy sex abuse cases.

“This is all about the money,” Jon Rogers, the protesters’ leader and a founder of the nonprofit support group, “The Friends of St. Frances Xavier Cabrini,” told FoxNews.com, claiming the church was “thriving” with 3,000 registered parishioners when the decision was made to close it nearly 11 years ago.

“Here’s the crux of the matter – we are sitting on one of the most valuable of piece of property in Boston,” Rogers said Thursday. “And they need the money. “You don’t get to hurt children and then steal our church to pay off your crimes,” he said.

Earlier this month, a state judge ordered the protesters to vacate by as early as Friday. The occupants then filed an appeal and were granted a temporary reprieve, according to Rogers.

“There’s so much information that was submitted and the judge needs time to review it,” he said.

The 30 largely undeveloped acres are worth over $4 million, by some estimates.

In an interview last August, Archdiocese spokesman Terry Donilon said the decision to close the church was part of a larger parish closure and cited a decline in Mass attendance and a “dramatic” drop in the number of priests.

Donilon strongly denied the charge that the church was being closed so the property could be sold to pay off prior legal settlements.

“We are not selling churches to pay for the legal fees of the sex abuse cases,” he told FoxNews.com in August. The U.S. Catholic Church has paid close to $2.8 billion in legal costs related to clergy sex abuse cases, according to a 2013 report by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

“No plans” have been discussed about what will be done with the property, which sits about a half mile from the Atlantic Ocean, Donilon also said at the time. He called the claim by congregants that the property is to be sold to a condominium developer false. Donilon was not immediately available when contacted Thursday.

Interior

Rogers and others say they believe the sweat equity they’ve poured into the church over the years makes it theirs, not the archdiocese’s. Parishioners have maintained the 55-year-old building over the years, spending thousands of dollars on repairs and renovations, like painting and new woodwork, as well as purchasing a new furnace. The archdiocese still pays for the electricity and heat, as well as the occasional landscaping and snow plowing.

The archdiocese has declined to say what it plans to do if protesters refuse to leave. The rebel occupants say they are prepared to be arrested as trespassers, if necessary.

Rogers said he and the other congregants plan to fight the archdiocese to the very end.

“I have a spiritual belief that right will triumph over wrong,” Rogers said. “In this case, we believe we are right.”

“I think the higher up the chain we pursue this, the closer to vindication that we get,” he said. “We will exhaust every avenue of appeal available to us. That promise hasn’t changed since Day 1.”

via Occupiers of church closed by Boston Archdiocese years ago fight order to vacate