WATCH: Pot as PTSD treatment?

KELOWNA – An associate professor at UBC Okanagan hopes to direct the first clinical trial in Canada testing the impact of medicinal marijuana on Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) sufferers.

“A lot of people with PTSD are being treated with a number of medicines, including depression, psychotic and anxiety medicines,” said Zach Walsh, the principal investigator for the proposed study.

He says various strains of marijuana, or a placebo, would be administered using vaporizers.

“The study’s investigators won’t know what condition people are in or which strain they are getting. And the people getting the strains won’t know which one they are getting either,” said Walsh.

The study would be funded by Tilray, a Nanaimo-based medical marijuana producer. It requires the approval of the university’s ethics committee as well as Health Canada in order to proceed.

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“We haven’t gotten the Health Canada approval yet. We have the funding and we have the agreement between Tilray and UBC. Our next step is to work through the approval but we don’t foresee any real roadblocks there,” said Walsh.

Researchers hope to recruit 40 participants for the study.

“We are going to look for people who have combat trauma as well as victims of violent crime. Also, there are high levels of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder amongst first responders so we are going to be looking at people who are responding to traumatic situations,” saidWalsh.

If approved, researchers anticipate enrolling their first participants by spring and concluding their research by late 2016.