Marijuana for PTSD: Existing Evidence and MAPS’ FDA-Approved Protocol

Sue Sisley, MD



Abstract: Dr. Sisley will give an overview of MAPS’ planned study of smoked or vaporized marijuana for 50 US veterans with chronic, treatment-resistant posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This placebo-controlled, triple-blind, randomized crossover pilot study is the first of its kind, and will investigate the safety and efficacy of marijuana for PTSD in veterans using four marijuana strains each with a different level of D9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) along with a fifth strain containing equal amounts of THC (6%) and cannabidiol (CBD) (6%). PTSD symptoms will be compared across conditions during four weeks of self-administration to determine if strain potency or drug delivery method affects PTSD severity. While the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and University of Arizona’s Institutional Review Board (IRB) have accepted the protocol, the study remains blocked by the Drug Enforcement Administration and National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA), which refuses to sell us any of its monopoly supply of marijuana (

Dr. Suzanne Sisley, MD has maintained a full-time telemedicine practice since 2009, where she employs a full array of telecommunications technology to deliver high-quality medical care to populations across rural and underserved areas of Arizona. Sue is an Institutional Member of the American Telemedicine Association and serves on the ATA’s Legislative and Policy Committee. Sue also serves as Clinical Faculty at St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center at the MercyCare Adult Medicine Clinic for indigent patients. Dr. Sisley completed her medical degree at the University of Arizona College of Medicine and her five-year residency at Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center in Internal Medicine and Psychiatry. Sue is also Founder and CEO of Ensuring Tomorrow Productions, a non-profit organization delivering health education through music, theater, and dance. Dr. Sisley has received many recent honors including the President's Point of Light Award and the Leo B. Hart Humanitarian Award from the University of Arizona. Dr. Sisley was also honored with the Arizona Medical Association's highest award, the President's Distinguished Service Award, as well as with the Hon Kachina Award, Arizona's most prestigious recognition for volunteerism.


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