Astonishingly, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) has approved a study of the effects of smoking cannabis to treat PTSI, or post-traumatic stress injury, in veterans. (We promise that is not a mean practical joke or bizarre string of typos. They really are going to allow a group of patients to take their medicine!) The study will include 76 veterans in a randomized, blinded, placebo-controlled clinical trial of the safety and efficacy of smoked cannabis in treatment-resistant subjects.

The Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) was finally able to get the study approved just this month. They had been working hard for this since 2010. Why did it take so long? One of the hurdles that this type of clinical trial must overcome is that cannabis is still, illogically, classified as a Controlled Substances Act Schedule I narcotic.

What’s the rush?

This summer, the DEA is expected to decide if cannabis will continue to be listed as one of the most dangerous drugs on earth with no known medical use, or if common sense will prevail. To some staunch prohibitionists, it may seem as if DEA has caved to the demands of the reefer addicts infesting our society, that the agency now is surrendering to the absurd notion that this lethal gateway narcotic is “medicine”: After all, it hasn’t even been 30 years since the DEA’s Chief Administrative Law Judge, Francis Young, declared in a 1988 administrative ruling:

It would be unreasonable, arbitrary and capricious for DEA to continue to stand between sufferers and the benefits of this substance in light of the evidence in this record…The administrative law judge recommends that the marijuana plant considered as a whole has a currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States, that there is no lack of accepted safety for use of it under medical supervision, and that it may lawfully be transferred from Schedule I to Schedule II.

Flip a coin


In theory, there are six choices: Cannabis could remain in Schedule I, be reclassified to a lower schedule (II-V), or be declassified entirely — an ideal scenario in which it could be regulated like tobacco and alcohol. In practice, there are only two choices: DEA will either leave it in Schedule I or move it to Schedule II. For the first time, the latter seems potentially likely, given recent smoke signals from the White House, a number of Senators, and a former Attorney General very close to the current president, who are all on the side of NOT expending resources to crush cannabis normalization efforts.

For our own good

It’s ironic that cannabis has dozens of medical uses, has zero recorded lethal overdoses in a hundred centuries, and is classed with heroin; while tobacco and alcohol are are readily available despite having no medical use and being responsible for millions of deaths annually. The message from government is that we’re more than welcome to kill ourselves cheaply and easily if we want to; but if we want to heal or feel better, that substance will be made as difficult and expensive to obtain as humanly possible. For our own good.

PTSD brain

We digress. MAPS finally being able to get this research approved is a monumental achievement, of which more are sorely needed. The group expects to gain valuable insight on “dosing, risks, and benefits of smoked marijuana for PTSD symptoms”, according to Amy Emerson, the Executive Director and Director of Clinical Research for the MAPS Public Benefit Corporation.

Why smoke?

The group does not address why they’ve elected to study only the smoking method of cannabis consumption, which is the most toxic method. For many conditions, more lasting effects are available via ingestion of foods, tinctures, and oils containing cannabis extracts. To simplify preparation, many patients and chefs use a Botanical Extractor, the countertop device created by to infuse the essential compounds of cannabis into foods with no guesswork.

Speaking of which, an educated guess as to the use of the smoking method in the study might be that unlike chronic pain, spasticity, digestive issues, and the like (ongoing and continuous conditions), some cases of PTSI do not need to be medicated constantly throughout the day. It can be a serial, recurring issue that requires more immediate relief, and inhalation is certainly the fastest way to deliver the effects.

Either way, it’s encouraging to see the DEA potentially being forced at last to move in the right direction. Veterans need access to more tools to heal PTSI, and cannabis presents a low-risk, high-reward option.

RELATED:For dozens of cannabis recipes, quick how-to videos, and info on how to get a Botanical Extractor, check out


About the author Amber Boone copy (1)

Amber Boone considers writing the cornerstone of communication. She interviews MMA (mixed martial arts) athletes for and opines on MMA at She’s passionate about helping folks tell their stories and making the world a better place, which includes working to win the freedom of Americans to partake of the herb. When not writing or playing beach volleyball, she can be found at her day job — for now. Follow Amber on Twitter @thruthetrees11.


Do you think veterans should be allowed to smoke cannabis for PTSI? Tell our readers in the comments below!