Researchers from the Wayne State University School of Medicine and the Eugene Applebaum College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences have launched $12.5 million in projects funded by the Michigan State’s Cannabis Regulatory Agency, which are expected to provide much-needed scientific insight. into the potential therapeutic benefits of cannabis and cannabinoids, particularly among veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.
The Veteran Marijuana Research Grant-funded study through the State of Michigan’s Cannabis Regulatory Agency supports two large-scale, randomized, controlled clinical trials over five years to evaluate the efficacy of cannabis and cannabinoids in improving the behavioral health of U.S. military veterans living in Michigan. , will evaluate.
The funding is the largest grant made in the past to both the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neuroscience and the Department of Pharmacy. A $9 million project includes co-principal investigators, associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral neuroscience, Leslie Lundahl, Ph.D., of the School of Medicine’s drug abuse research division; and the Eugene Applebaum College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences Associate Professor of Pharmacy Practice Christine Rabinek, Ph.D., along with School of Medicine co-investigators David Ledgerwood, Ph.D. and Mark Greenwald, Ph.D., both professors of psychiatry and behavioral neuroscience, and Hilary Marusak, Ph.D., assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral neuroscience.
The study, “Wayne State Warriors Marijuana Clinical Research Program: Cannabinoid Adjunct to Prolonged Exposure and Recovery,” aims to determine whether cannabis in combination with an empirically-based behavioral treatment for PTSD, called Prolonged Exposure (PE) Therapy, is the therapeutic results for the US. military veterans with PTSD.
“Post-traumatic stress disorder is a debilitating condition that often affects veterans of the United States Armed Forces and can lead to an increased risk of suicide,” said Dr. Lundahl. “One of the most effective treatments for PTSD is long-term exposure therapy, but many military veterans discontinue PE and more than a third who complete PE experience no improvement in symptoms. There is an urgent need to develop treatments for PTSD , particularly aimed at improving quality of life and psychological symptoms. Cannabinoids such as THC and CBD may help make PE more effective. Our work may also benefit the wider veteran and clinical communities through its impact on education, health care policy and improved use of health care.
“Importantly, public opinion on therapeutic cannabis use has far outstripped the scientific evidence, and this work will help clinicians provide data and guidance to discuss potential risks and benefits of cannabis use with their patients,” added Dr. Lundahl to it.
In addition, a $3.5 million project was led by assistant professor Hilary Marusak, Ph.D. and Assistant Professor Eric Woodcock, Ph.D., “Investigating the Therapeutic Impact of Cannabinoids on Neuroinflammation and Neurobiological Underpinnings of Suicidal Thoughts in Veterans with PTSD,” Complements the Currently Funded 2021 Veteran Marijuana Research Grant,” Wayne State Warriors Marijuana Clinical Research Program: Exploring the Impact of Cannabinoids on Veterans Behavioral Health.”
“This supplement project will be the first-ever neuroimaging study of cannabis treatment in U.S. Armed Forces veterans with PTSD, or in any population,” said Dr. marusak. “We will investigate the neurobiological changes that may be associated with the therapeutic effects of controlled cannabis/cannabinoid dosing in the context of an ongoing 12-week randomized controlled trial. We will use state-of-the-art brain imaging approaches targeting neurobiological mechanisms known to support PTSD and suicidality.”
Both studies are part of Warrior CARE, a School of Medicine research program designed to understand how cannabis affects veterans’ mental health.
Visit www.warriorcare.net to learn more about the project, including how to be a study participant.
The project focuses on the potential for improving symptoms of PTSD, which affects up to 31% of US military veterans. Veterans living with PTSD are at increased risk for suicide and other adverse outcomes, such as depression, substance use disorders, sleep disturbances, and even cardiovascular events, such as stroke. In the latest annual report from the US Veterans Health Administration, an average of 17.2 veterans died by suicide every day in 2019.
Centered at Wayne State University, the project expands the potential for veterans living in Michigan now and in the future.
Redbud Roots Inc. will support WSU in the “Wayne State Warriors Marijuana Clinical Research Program.”
“We are thrilled to be working with Wayne State on this investigation,” said Alex Leonowicz, co-founder and chief operating officer of Redbud Roots Inc. “Veterans deserve full legal access to medical cannabis, and we will do everything we can to help change this conversation.”
Redbud Roots is a vertically integrated cannabis company envisioning a future where all individuals are empowered to improve their personal wellbeing through informed use of cannabis products. Redbud Roots’ primary mission is to provide safe, effective and accessible products to the communities it works with to generate value not only for the consumers they serve, but also for the communities in which they live.
Although medical cannabis use is allowed in 38 states, cannabis remains federally illegal and many veterans fear losing their benefits if they are found to be using cannabis.