Helping military veterans address PTSD focus of planned Canadian study

Avail Cannabis is looking to launch an observational study about post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and wants Canadian military veterans to be the focus.

Original Article by Marijuana News

The company plans to apply for ethics approval of the study aimed at identifying “the optimal cannabinoid profile and therapeutic dose of medical cannabis oil” for military veterans with PTSD, according to Ontario-based Avail Cannabis.

Jamie Chaplin, a veteran from Midland who served 16 years in the Canadian Armed Forces, and broke his back during his service, said that more research must be done now that cannabis is legal, reports the North Bay Nugget. “I’m excited to see what happens here,” Chaplin said, adding weed helped ease both the physical pain and the “dark place” he went to after his back injury.

Reviewing Statistics Canada data, researchers out of the University of British Columbia found PTSD was connected to depression and suicidal thoughts among those who did not use cannabis, but not among those who did.

Once ethics approval has been obtained, anticipated late next month, official recruitment for the three-month study will begin, notes Avail Cannabis, which operates telemedicine and family walk-in clinics that provide conventional and cannabis prescription services in collaboration with independently pharmacies across Ontario. The company’s first medical marijuana clinic opened in Barrie, Ont. two years ago.

Given that COVID-19 is ongoing, patient information for the upcoming study will be gathered via telephone or online video.

For the study, Avail Cannabis will be recruiting near and far. It opened the first of six recruitment centres — all of which will be located in pharmacies and be close to Canadian Forces Bases (CFB) in Ontario, as well as one in Manitoba — this past Friday at the Northern Shores Pharmacy in North Bay, Ont. CFB North Bay is subordinate to 1 Canadian Air Division in Winnipeg “and is the centre for North American Aerospace Defense Command operations in Canada.”

FILE: Military march held in Canada as the body of a fallen soldier was repatriated in September 2009. / Photo: / Photo: jerom400 / iStock / Getty Images Plus / Photo: jerom400 / iStock / Getty Images Plus

Other recruitment centres, which the company reports will launch throughout September, will be located in the Ontario communities of Angus, Meaford, Kingston and Petawawa, the North Bay Nugget reports.

“I think it has a growing place in health care, and a lot of patients use medical cannabis already and have a huge benefit from it,” Northern Shores Pharmacy co-owner Richard Procunier told the publication. “And so facilitating access to this is something that I think is a good thing.”

The hope is the research can offer guidance on the best cannabis dose based on gender and body weight, said Justin Whitehall, clinic director for Avail Cannabis, reports the North Bay Nugget. “We felt that because veterans have already done so much for us that this is the one thing we could do for them,” Whitehall noted.

Up until late September, and following completion of the study, Avail Cannabis notes that the educational resource centres will be open so that veterans and their families can access local health care resources.

More hard data could help ensure a smoother process for veterans who believe cannabis can provide relief. / Photo: ipopba / iStock / Getty Images Plus ipopba / iStock / Getty Images Plus

A staff member at each pharmacy will have successfully completed training for providing culturally competent care to military veterans, the company notes. The goal is to “have the course fully accredited for pharmacists across Ontario next month for when the study commences.”

More hard data could help ensure a smoother process for veterans who believe cannabis can provide relief. There are still hurdles to clear when it comes to cannabis and PTSD.

In the U.S., for example, consider information posted on the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs website. “Several states specifically approve the use of medical marijuana for PTSD. However, controlled studies have not been conducted to evaluate the safety or effectiveness of medical marijuana for PTSD. Thus, there is no evidence at this time that marijuana is an effective treatment for PTSD. In fact, research suggests that marijuana can be harmful to individuals with PTSD.”

Avail Cannabis hopes to publish study findings in Veteran and Family Health and present them at a veterans’ health conference next year. “Further military veteran-focused studies are also planned in the future and all studies have been developed keeping patient safety as the number one priority,” the company adds.

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published