State awards WSU researchers an additional $12.5 million to study risks and benefits of cannabis in veterans’ behavioral health care – Reuters

Researchers from Wayne State University School of Medicine and Eugene Applebaum College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences have launched $12.5 million in Michigan State Cannabis Regulatory Agency-funded projects that are expected to provide a essential scientific understanding of the potential therapeutic benefits of cannabis and cannabinoids, particularly in veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.

The study funded by the Veterans Marijuana Research Grant through the State of Michigan Cannabis Regulatory Agency supports two large-scale randomized controlled clinical trials over five years that will evaluate the effectiveness of cannabis and cannabinoids to improve the behavioral health of US military veterans living in Michigan.

The funding is the largest grant awarded historically to the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurosciences and the Department of Pharmacy Practice. 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 Addiction Research Division; and Eugene Applebaum College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences Associate Professor of Pharmacy Practice Christine Rabinek, Ph.D., and School of Medicine co-investigators David Ledgerwood, Ph.D. and Mark Greenwald, Ph.D., both professors of psychiatry and behavioral neurosciences, and Hilary Marusak, Ph.D., assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral neurosciences.

The trial, “Wayne State Warriors Marijuana Clinical Research Program: Cannabinoid Adjunct to Prolonged Exposure and Recovery,” aims to establish whether cannabis combined with an empirical behavioral treatment for PTSD called prolonged exposure therapy (PE) can improve treatment outcomes. for the United States. 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,” Dr. Lundahl said. “One of the most effective treatments for PTSD is prolonged exposure therapy, but many military veterans discontinue PE and more than a third who complete PE experience no improvement in symptoms. There is a urgent need to develop treatments for PTSD, particularly focused on improving quality of life and mental health symptoms Cannabinoids like THC and CBD could potentially help make PE more effective Our work can also have benefits for the broader veteran and clinic communities through its impact on education, health care policy, and improving health care utilization.

]”It is important to note that public opinion on medical cannabis use has greatly outpaced scientific evidence, and this work will help provide data and guidance for clinicians to discuss the potential risks and benefits of medical cannabis use. cannabis with their patients,” Dr Lundahl added.

Additionally, a $3.5 million project 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 ideation in veterans with PTSD,” will complement the currently funded 2021 Veterans Marijuana Research Grant, “Wayne State Warriors Marijuana Clinical Research Program: Investigating the Impact of Cannabinoids on the Behavioral Health of veterans. »

“This supplement project will be the first-ever neuroimaging study of cannabis treatment in U.S. Armed Forces veterans with PTSD, or any population,” Dr. Marusak said. “We will examine 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 that target neurobiological mechanisms known to underlie PTSD and suicidality.

Both studies are part of Warrior CARE, a medical school research program created to understand how cannabis affects veterans’ mental health.

To learn more about the project, including how to participate in the study, visit

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 poor outcomes, such as depression, substance use disorders, sleep disturbances, and even cardiovascular events, such as strokes . In the latest annual report from the US Veterans Health Administration, an average of 17.2 veterans died by suicide per day in 2019.

The project centers on Wayne State University, increasing its potential to benefit veterans living in Michigan now and in the future.

Redbud Roots Inc. will support WSU through the “Wayne State Warriors Marijuana Clinical Research Program”.

“We are thrilled to work with Wayne State on this study,” said Alex Leonowicz, co-founder and COO of Redbud Roots Inc. “Veterans deserve full legal access to medical cannabis, and all that we can do to help change that conversation, we’ll put our weight behind it.

Redbud Roots is a vertically integrated cannabis company that envisions a future in which all individuals are empowered to improve their personal well-being through the informed use of cannabis products. Redbud Roots’ core mission is to provide safe, effective and accessible products to the communities with which it partners to generate value not only for the consumers they serve, but for the communities in which they live.

Although the use of cannabis for medical purposes is legal in 38 states, cannabis remains illegal at the federal level, and many veterans fear losing their benefits if they are found to be using cannabis.

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