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Dr. Sue Sisley shares the challenges she’s faced in researching cannabis as a treatment for PTSD

By July 27, 2016 No Comments

Sue Sisley“…I don’t know if cannabis will be a solution. But I think that there’s enough anecdotal reports to warrant very serious research in this area.” –Dr. Sue Sisley about what drives her to pursue her research

This week Commander Mark Divine talks to Dr. Sue Sisley about her work with marijuana as a treatment for veterans with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. In April 2016, Dr. Sisley received approval from the DEA to conduct the first study to test how marijuana interacts with veterans with severe PTSD. She explains why the process took nearly seven years, and how she, along with the veteran community, were tenacious and determined to overcome the obstacles.

For more information about the study, see the flyer and the release from Scottsdale Research Institute.

This week’s podcast is brought to you by Clean Energy Patch. Instead of having to guzzle sugar-loaded energy drinks one after the other, the Clean Energy Patch is a better way to maintain energy over a long time period. They use caffeine, guarana and cacao to give you the energy you want, without adding all the extra junk calories.

Get your copy of Mark and Catherine’s new book KOKORO YOGA here.

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Transcript & Shownotes

Hey folks, Mark Divine with the Unbeatable Mind podcast here. Thanks so much for coming back and joining us. Super appreciate it. You’re time will not be wasted today. We’ve got a really interesting guest–Dr. Sue Sisley. I hope I said that right. We’ll find out in a moment.

Before we get started–I’m jumping right into this one–before we get started my team is always on me to ask you to go rate our podcast at iTunes. So go to iTunes and rate the podcast with 15 or 20 stars. However many they give you. So that we can pop up there and people can find us. Okay?

And also, if you’re not on our email list, please go to unbeatablemind.com/podcast and drop your name there.

Introduction

[1:25]

Okay, so–Sue did I get your name right? Is it Sysly or Sicily?

Sue Sisley: It’s Sicily, but that’s so good. It’s all right.

Mark: Thanks for your time. So Dr. Sisley you are involved in studying PTSD and trying to find better solutions than the typical narco-solutions of our establishment, right? Is that your mission in life right now?

Sue: Yeah, that’s our hope–that we can uncover new treatments. The government, surprisingly… I don’t see any real, tangible initiative from our government to help address this epidemic of veteran suicide. It’s amazing to me that… you know, this is a real public health crisis and I don’t know if cannabis will be a solution. But I think that there’s enough anecdotal reports to warrant very serious research in this area, and I’m shocked that the government has systematically impeded this work over so long.

Mark: Well, I’m not shocked. I don’t think any of the listeners would be shocked. We’re more excited that there’s some movement here. So let’s be clear, you wanna use… you wanna study marijuana as a method of recovery for PTSD victims.

Sue: Yeah, we were hoping that cannabis will prove to help with symptom control for PTSD. And that’s what the vets have been claiming for many years now, and we hope to put that notion through the rigors of a randomized controlled trial.

Mark: And you’ve just gotten approval for this trial, right? Who would it be the FDA, the… who’s involved in approving a trial?

Sue: You won’t believe, there’s so many layers of government red tape that are required. At all levels of the government. So even though it’s a federally regulated trial, there’s so many areas where the government can intervene to stonewall this work. So we actually… me and the sponsor, MAPS, which is a non-profit based out of Santa Cruz, they have just done an incredible job for two decades now, trying to battle the barriers to cannabis efficacy research. And so they submitted the study designed 7 years ago. And we got FDA approval back in April of 2011. And there was tons of media coverage hailing, celebrating the fact that we were finally going to get to study cannabis for PTSD. And here we are–it’s 7 years later since submitting the study and we still can’t enroll our first veteran. So it just shows you the myriad ways that the government can inhibit this work. So I… you know…

Epidemic

[4:31]

Mark: Wow. Well, let’s just back up a little bit, because you called PTSD especially amongst military an epidemic. And I have anecdotally heard about going into the VA system and getting opioids, and then getting addicted to the opioids, which kinda locked them in their cycle of depression and of whatever maladies are psychologically troubling them. And then suicide. So what are some of the stats? What’s the magnitude of this problem?

Sue: It’s pretty immense. And I think what you’re just… the poly-pharmacy seems to be contributing the most that these guys come back from service and they get put through the gauntlet of all these medication trials because it’s rare that the first prescription works. And, you know, in medicine we haven’t come very far. We keep treating every target symptom with a different prescription. So in PTSD, it’s such a complex constellation of different symptoms. If you read DSM V you see there’s 14 or 15 different criteria listed. So all these different symptoms that the vets will come in complaining about. Everything from chronic sleep deprivation to flashbacks, nightmares, anxiety, paranoia. All the… and so each one of those gets a different prescription and how suddenly these guys snowball… over the course of a year they could snowball onto 8, 10 or 12 different prescriptions, all to treat this single syndrome. And that’s why my team is completely intrigued by the notion that a plant could target the entire syndrome. Instead of having to take so many different meds that you may be able to use the plant as monotherapy is really impressive. But all remains to be tested. So I wanna emphasize that I’m not going into this with a notion that this works. I believe the veterans and all the PTSD sufferers. I believe their subjective reports when they claim that they’re benefitting. But in medicine, we’re trying not to really embrace an idea until it’s put through the serious controlled trial.

Marijuana and PTSD symptoms

[7:06]

Mark: Right. ‘Cause you want it to be taken seriously–obviously it’s gotta go that route. What are the subjective benefits that are being reported by the vets?

Sue: Well I would say the most common symptom that vets claim are being addressed by the plant is the sleep problem that they… that cannabis seems to help them initiate sleep and therefore suppress all those awful nightmares and flashbacks that they live with afterward, so that’s really crucial. It seems to be the hardest time, when vets are alone in bed, alone with their thoughts in their head, these horrific dark thoughts that are constantly swirling through their heads that they can’t seem to suppress with anything. So the meds that we give them really serve to try to sedate them and then they end up feeling so sluggish, like zombies, you know they’re just completely non-functional and especially when it comes to multiple meds all with these drug interactions, and then it’s just demoralizing–overall these guys feel like guinea pigs, they’re just being put through… being pummeled with all these different meds.

And you know, the most common… in addition to the sleep deprivation, flashbacks, nightmares that result then in all these daytime symptoms like anxiety, feel fearful in public places especially, because they anticipate all these triggers around them, whether it’s loud noises or people bumping into them, crowds. It’s hard for them to manage. They feel the hyper-vigilance we call it. Where they’re constantly on guard all the time. And then just an overall kind of malaise, depression that comes from just feeling hopeless. That they’re never going to be able to overcome these symptoms that they’re grappling with every day. So I think… and there’s many more symptoms that they describe, but those are the most common and the most discouraging, and that’s why we see this epidemic of veteran suicide, because after going through conventional treatment… you know, they go to the VA, they get put on… they get pounded with meds, then they get put through all this psycho-therapy, that in theory is supposed to work. You know, if you read the articles it says cognitive behavioral therapy is an effective treatment for PTSD. But these guys try to engage in it. They get highly impatient because therapy doesn’t work in a week or a month. You gotta do this relentlessly over a year or two. It’s tough for them to engage that long. And a lot of them, it’s easier to just turn to substance abuse or other more immediate solutions, like ending their life.

Different alternative treatments

[10:04]

Mark: The problem isn’t really cognitive, it’s deep subconscious. It’s nervous system crisis, right? And its emotional trauma, and you know cognitive therapy doesn’t really work. A deep somatic therapy could help. I just see how there’s much wiser ways to go about this. What are the numbers though? Just help me understand, how many of these poor men and women who’ve gone and served our country are involved… are committing suicide or are in desperate straits from PTSD? Or both. Those are two different populations, I guess.

Sue: Right. I would say the latest data, depending on where you read, but on average it looks like about 1 in 5 servicemen and women who come back end up having… end up being diagnosed with PTSD. So then that doesn’t really capture, though, all the other folks who are symptomatic but never report it, never get diagnosed. So it’s probably considerably higher. And then, in the general population, also very massive problem, because there’s so many different traumas that people are faced with beyond… besides military. Whether it’s rape or all kinds of different… muggings, all of these terror attacks, all kinds of things that are happening now. You know, everybody’s threshold for developing PTSD is different. That’s what they talk about in military. What’s the resilience of people when they come in and how do people avoid this problem? But we don’t have good research on this yet, so we’re stuck with trying to manage it after. And I think… you know there’s a lot of new medically active plants that are banned by our government that seem to have potential in treating PTSD, whether it’s iowaska, ibogaine, all kinds of plants that we’re not allowed to study easily in this country, but they could have potential. Veterans are discovering on their own. That’s why I’m so proud of the veterans community for taking the initiative. Without them we wouldn’t be anywhere with this study. They’re the ones who’ve kind of stood side-by-side with us fighting to help us move forward, get the study over all these ridiculous bureaucratic hurdles. Because they know that… they have a high skepticism of the government and their motivations to suppress this kind of research. So they’ve been working with us shoulder to shoulder to get this underway.

Mark: Right. I mentioned when we talked briefly yesterday that I know a guy who has a program that he has to run in Mexico. And he’s actively working with vets and having tremendous success using ibogaine and iowaska and also some other things. Combining obviously with yoga and meditation and healthy eating and a very integrative, holisitic approach, but he claims that these kind of natural, shamanic type experiences using like iowaska have a powerful effect of kind of resetting the nervous system, and, like, reframing, cognitively completely reframing the experience for the vet, which has a dramatic effect on the recovery process. Accelerating it greatly. But he can’t do it in the United States, of course, because it’s all illegal, just like what you’ve experienced with cannabis. Fascinating.

Sue: It’s true. Yeah.

Mark: How did you get interested in doing this type of work? What’s your specific background and path toward this study?

Sue: Well, I credit the veterans with teaching me about this, because I was completely blocked when it came to the idea of cannabis as a medicine. I had never been exposed to that notion, because I’m trained in a very conservative medical model, where you don’t value anything as a medicine until it’s put through the FDA drug development process. So I couldn’t… when these vets would reluctantly disclose to me that they were using cannabis to treat a variety of medical conditions, not just PTSD, I was highly judgmental, and dismissive. And finally I started to listen. They never gave up on me. These guys just kept trying to persuade me. They’d bring in family members who’d also corroborate the story and talk about how they got their… wives would say, you know, “I got my husband back.” And they would describe these really compelling sagas about what they were dealing with, pre-plant and after plant. And these were very credible historians. These weren’t guys with long histories of drug addiction. These were high functioning, happy, productive vets who were talking about using cannabis. Often they would just use it nightly to help initiate sleep, and then they’d be completely high-functioning throughout the next day. And they were always very lucid and sensible and I was… and then I was really fortunate then to team up with MAPS, who has done some of the most important research on… primarily on psychadelics, so on drugs that are in schedule 1, whether it’s MDMA, they’re doing groundbreaking work on doing MDMA assisted psychotherapy to help address PTSD.

Mark: What is MDMA?

Sue: Oh yeah. MDMA is the chemical term for Ecstacy. You know, the street drug Ecstacy or E. And it’s very surprising to me to look at the data. They’ve gone through already FDA phase II trials with this. And in one study they showed over 80% remission of symptoms. And that, you know, I can’t achieve that with any of the conventional meds. It’s very rare that any standard meds will put PTSD into remission. They might buffer the symptoms a little bit, but MDMA even with just a few sessions… and I want to make sure to emphasize, it’s not folks just taking MDMA. It’s MDMA assisted psychotherapy. So they dose a purified MDMA that’s given to them through the study protocol. It’s probably much smaller and uncontaminated than what you would get on the street. But then they go into I think it’s 10 or 12 hour, very intensive psychotherapy session, where the medicine continues to alter their thinking, and through that process, their… there’s a co-therapy model. Man and a woman work with them, talk them through what they’re experiencing, and in just a few sessions they were proving that these veterans were… had no detectable symptoms even years later. Which was really astounding. So now the FDA’s allowed them to go into phase III trials, which are beginning all over the US.

And that’s what… I’ve been so fortunate to know them, because they have proven that through perseverance scientists can do this work. And most scientists would have given up quickly after running into one blockade after another. But these guys are demanding action from the government. And they’re doing it through the process of having some of the most superior scientists in the country, and using the current, highly bureaucratic pathways, but just never giving up. And I think that’s why the veterans community… they have such a big following there, because the vets realize that that kind of determination on their behalf… I mean, these guys are really serious about finding new treatments for this. And much more so than big pharma, that’s just trying to continue to throw… you know, pour more pills down their throat.

Mark: Now MAP… is there a bigger name behind that acronym?

Sue: Yeah, it’s Multidisciplinary Association of Psychedelic Studies. So, you know, yeah. That’s why maps.org is their website if anyone wants to take a look at there. So they look at everything from MDMA to iowaska to I think they’ve done observational studies on ibogaine and all kinds of stuff. So take a look at that.

The bureaucracy and the delays

[19:28]

Mark: Tell us about the DEA and, you know, the roadblocks that they threw up. ‘Cause it sounds like the FDA was all for it, but the other alphabet soup agencies weren’t.

Sue: Yeah, that’s… a big surprise that the FDA worked so collaboratively with us, because you know, they’re physician investigators so they’re curious to see this plant put through the proper drug development process. So they helped us, you know, went back and forth over a short time and we had approval from them relatively quickly. It was, yeah… we spent another 5 years after that trying to hurdle all the other layers of government red tape. The most onerous, I would say, was that Public Health Service approval. PHS is another department of HHS, that was a redundant, added review that occurs after we’ve already obtained FDA approval.

And it took us 3 years to get through that process, that didn’t require… at the end of 3 years they never required any protocol changes, so it was clear that this was just another way, another strategy the government created to impede this kind of research. and it doesn’t have to… you know, if you’re doing safety studies and looking at harmful side effects of cannabis, those studies get green lighted quickly. They get all the NIDA funding… the government funding from the National Institute on Drug Abuse. They get all the cannabis they could ever dream of. But if you dare say you wanna study efficacy of cannabis, those are the studies that get impeded and our study is a great example. So after 3 years of stonewalling, PHS finally sent an approval letter. But during those 3 years, 24,000 veterans killed themselves in this country.

Mark: Oh my God.

Sue: And we wonder if cannabis could have helped some of these guys reduce their suffering. But then, after coming through that PHS review, then you have to deal with the DEA, because they have the only… they have a monopoly on the only federally legal supply of cannabis for any of these FDA trials, or any trial, any experimental design around cannabis.

Mark: So you can’t just walk into a shop in Colorado and pick up some cannabis to use in your study?

Sue: Yeah, no, that’s the challenge. It’s the only Schedule I drug that has to deal with this bizarre monopoly, so if NIDA… you know, what they’ve done back in 1968, they granted University of Mississippi the sole license to grow cannabis for this research. So Mississippi has this privileged through NIDA, and if NIDA doesn’t like your study, because you’re studying efficacy of cannabis… we’re looking at safety and efficacy in the same study, but the government has already decided for us that cannabis has no medical benefit by putting it in Schedule I, and so the government doesn’t understand why you would want to study efficacy. They’ve already told you that it doesn’t have any.

Mark: (laughing) Of course, they know, right?

Sue: So this is the challenge. And that’s part of the objection we have with the scheduling of controlled drugs. The DEA is the one who decides where controlled drugs are scheduled. They created the schedule. And they put cannabis in the category of Schedule I of “most dangerous drugs” in the world. And that’s…

Mark: So it’s up there with heroin and other things like that?

Sue: Yeah. Heroin, LSD, MDMA, magic mushrooms. And the problem is that there’s no sound scientific evidence that it belongs there. And that’s what people have been confused, you know, we’ve been misled by our government for so many decades now to believe that it actually belongs. But this is the problem, when you have law enforcement professionals deciding on the medical benefits of this plant or any other controlled drug, doesn’t make sense. That whole scheduling needs to be redone by medical professionals who actually know about this. But now the DEA is again involved in blocking cannabis research, because they hold the control of the drug supply for… only for cannabis research. When MAPS looks at MDMA, they can buy research grade MDMA from any lab in the country. The don’t go to DEA to buy their study drug. Only marijuana does the DEA want to control.

Mark: Why is that? I don’t understand. What is the logic in that?

Sue: That was set up decades ago through the Controlled Substances Act, which was signed back in 1970. So since then, the government has decided that the DEA will have the sole control, and this is just… you know, if you recognize that the politics around cannabis… how determined the government has been to vilify cannabis, and to make the public afraid of it. So any research that might legitimize cannabis as medicine, seems like the government needs to suppress that work. And there’s a lot of super-wealthy, powerful groups in this country that also have a vested interest in ensuring that type of research never sees the light of day.

Mark: Such as pharma

Financial interests and stonewalling

[26:43]

Sue: Big pharma. Yeah, pharma’s the obvious one, but then you’ve got law enforcement and private prisons, and all these groups. Private prisons are very determined to make sure that this research doesn’t come about. Because they’re already very upset… for example in Arizona, we’ve had a medical marijuana law in Arizona for 5 years now, we have 90,000 card holders that are legally protected from being thrown in cages now. And that’s a big problem for private prisons. They get… now 90,000 people that they can’t put in their system, because… so they spend a lot of money each year fighting medical cannabis laws in every state and they work to repeal medical cannabis laws in every existing state. Because they don’t want that. They rely heavily on profits and their shareholders demand that these laws be beaten back.

Mark: That’s making my stomach turn. The whole private prison concept and to think that they’re involved in lobbying efforts against health and wellness. It’s just… it’s very disturbing. Holy cow.

Sue: Oh yeah.

Mark: The fact that there’s private prisons is very disturbing. I mean, how could that be a good idea? It’s just unreal. Wow. Broken. Broken system.

Sue: Yeah.

Mark: So what are some of the things the DEA actually did to stonewall this project?

Sue: Well they have–through the different… they have what we call the DEA mandated NIDA monopoly. So through NIDA they’re able to use the delay tactics. That’s their best weapon. Is just constantly… they can leave an application on a desk for months. They don’t have any timelines, that’s the problem. So the reason the FDA was so easy to work with is they’re on a 30 day timetable. But none of these other agencies have any timeline. So they can take months or years to review each step. So there’s different junctures where they can delay. For instance, NIDA. Took them 20 months to grow the cannabis that we had requested. Any expert grower could have had cannabis grown to spec for us within 3 or 4 months, but NIDA takes them 20 months. At the end of that process, they still didn’t have the strains that we had requested.

For instance, we asked for… first of all, if you ask for 20% THC, which is what most veterans are accessing, somewhere around there. They have access to that kind of… 20-25% THC through a dispensary, through the black market, but if you ask the government for high THC arm of the study, the highest you can get from them is 10% THC. So that’s very frustrating that if you’re trying to do a real world study and imitate what veterans are doing day to day, you won’t be able to do that. You know, we asked for a one to one ratio of 12% THC, 12% CBD, we ended up with after 20 months of trying, they ended up with 7%, 7%, and they’re not meeting the requirements of the Controlled Substances Act, which says that they’re required to provide an adequate and uninterrupted supply of cannabis for any of these trials. They’ve never really been able to do that.

And you’ll see that my sponsor MAPS again going to be exposing this hopefully soon to try to… they’ve worked very actively to try to end this DEA monopoly, and force the DEA to license other growers, experts, you know, true agricultural experts who can do the selective breeding that we need to get the strains that scientists need. But the DEA isn’t going to relinquish their monopoly voluntarily. That’s what they’ve proven, and we’ve tried all kinds of strategies through congress, through Obama administration–every possible route to force the DEA to license other growers. And we have not succeeded.

Meanwhile, other governments around the world have already seen the importance of licensing multiple growers. In Canada, I think they have over 2 dozen licensed growers for research. Israel had 8 different manufacturers for research. That’s the way it should be. You need a variety of people all growing different phenotypes, because we all know that that plant is so complex. And having one grower is not suitable. We have all these unlikely supporters now, who’ve come out of the woodwork. Everyone from Grover Norquist, to the head of NIDA, who are saying, “Yes, the DEA monopoly has blocked research. It does need to end. The US would be better off if there were other licensed growers.”

But the government is…

Mark: Slow to change.

Sue: Yeah, yeah, so it’s possible that Obama would end this with a stroke of a pen before he leaves, finishes his term.

Mark: Yeah, well, let’s cross our fingers on that. I haven’t been a big fan of a lot of his pen strokes, but this one I would be applauding.

Sue: Exactly.

Puerto Rico and medical tourism

[32:31]

Mark: Tell us about Puerto Rico. You were just down in Puerto Rico and you mentioned to me that they’re making medical tourism a big priority.

Sue: Yeah, the financial troubles in Puerto Rico are pretty well known now. And I think they acknowledge that the cannabis tourism is a possible… a destination site for medically ill patients, is a viable solution to some of their… you know it’s not going to pull them completely out of poverty, but it does… I mean they’re looking at the data in other states. Certainly the tax revenue generated by Colorado and Oregon has been so impressive. Granted that’s on the… includes recreational cannabis but medical tourism has the potential to generate similar numbers if they do become a destination site. And they have all the ingredients for that. They have a government that is supremely supportive at all levels, which is very different environment. You go even to Colorado and you see the elected officials still very wary about the cannabis programs and still reluctant to say too many positive things about it. But you go to Puerto Rico the government has fully embraced it. They know that this is a God given, natural plant that has been unfairly vilified for too long. And they’re ready to show… I think they are going to be a model for the world about how to deal with this plant, how to use it to create meaningful economic development. And they…over the next 5 years–it’s gonna take a long time–but over the next years they’re going to hopefully show how you can use this as a tool to come out of very dire financial straits and also really help your people, and develop some of the best medicine in the world, I think. And they already have that track record, ’cause Puerto Rico for many decades was the home of… I think they had over ten different major pharmaceutical manufacturers. And they put out some of the most important medicine we’ve seen in the last many years. Even though I’m not a huge fan of big pharma, I recognize that some of these conventional meds are necessary and are helpful. But unfortunately the tax credits they were offering big pharma had dropped off, and suddenly they saw a mass exodus of all these… and that’s where the financial crisis started in Puerto Rico, and that’s what they’re hoping to fix now, so we’ll see what happens.

Current status of the study

[35:16]

Mark: We’ll cross our fingers on that too.

So is this study… are you taking vets into the study yet? What’s the status?

Sue: Yeah, we’re not allowed to enroll veterans in the study until we’ve received study drug from the federal government. So we’re still waiting on the arrival of the cannabis from the DEA, from NIDA…

Mark: And who knows how long that’ll take, right?

Sue: Yeah. We’re going back and forth with them now on what exactly is there. What is the supply that’s available? You have to fill out these order forms. They’re in triplicate and it’s just hilarious. They’re so old… You would think everything’s gone electronically, but no… and then they Fed/Ex it to you. It’s not like it comes in some armored truck. We’re getting 4 kilos of cannabis by Fed/Ex. So yeah, it’s… I would say as soon as we get the study drug, we’ll be allowed to start screening patients over the phone. So what we have now is just an email address where veterans can drop us a note with their contact info, and they’ll get a response that says, “Hey, we’ll contact you as soon as we get the green light from the government.” And then we can screen them. We may be able to save them a trip there, because most of the vets unfortunately won’t qualify for the study, because there’s an immense number of inclusion and exclusion criteria. And there are things that will keep them… For instance, if they’re already using cannabis now, and they’re not able to stop for the 2 weeks prior to the study starting, then they wouldn’t be eligible for this. So there’s many vets who are already using cannabis daily and won’t be able to stop. Because it’ll cause them too much symptom relapse. So those guys wouldn’t be good candidates for this. We’re basically looking for healthy volunteers, of all ages. Doesn’t matter. As long as they’re over 18, there’s no age restriction. They have to be able to abide by a very rigorous protocol. So when we review the intensity of the protocol with them, a lot of them will probably want to drop out, they won’t want to proceed with it. Because it is compensated, but it’s not lucrative by any means, so, I think most of them will… But we’ll see, I’m hoping that we can start enrolling veterans by August, and that means that we would like to see veterans start emailing. The address is just [email protected]. We’ll give you the flyer so you can post it on your website for people who wanna go there and share it with their fellow veterans, or loved ones that they know who might be interested.

Mark: How many folks are you looking for?

Sue: We need 76 veterans total for the study, which means we’ll probably be screening 5 or 600 veterans over the next 2 years. In order to get that optimal 76 that meet all the criteria. But what we’re doing is we’ve split the study between John Hopkins University and my site in Phoenix. So the veterans who live out in the Baltimore area, or able to drive in once a week, that will be optimal for that.

And then anyone who lives in the Phoenix metro area or able to drive in weekly…

Mark: So they’ll have to have on-site presence for the duration of the study?

Sue: Yeah, but luckily the intensive process is only about 12 weeks. Then after that they’ll be subject to a six month follow up, but it’s much looser, and they don’t have to be physically present. Most of it will be done over video conferencing. So 12 weeks locally here. But the good news is they’re not stuck in a facility. They are allowed to take their cannabis home with them, and self-titrate the medicine each day. But there’s a lot of personal diaries and all kinds of measurement tools on an iPad that they’ll have to manage each day. There’s even a portable sleep study that they do for us each day so we can see how the cannabis affects their sleep architecture, so…

Mark: Are they gonna be inhaling the cannabis? Or eating it? Or… how is it going to be administered?

Sue: It’s strictly a smoking delivery method. For us that was a choice. Because this was an early phase FDA trial, it’s a phase II trial, and we wanted to… first of all to imitate what veterans do in the real world, and most of them still choose smoking. But also because it’s easier to titrate. You know, it’s a fast onset of action. It dissipates fairly rapidly over a couple hours, so you get a sense of how quickly they can get relief of symptoms, if at all, we don’t know if they will. But we’ll be able to measure that more easily with smoking. We have colleagues in Canada who have chosen… who have taken our protocol and adapted for vaporizing only, and so we’re excited that we’ll have data from both sites that we can compare.

Mark: That’s cool. All right. Well fascinating, very, very fascinating. And I really applaud you and your team for, you know, staying the course. Holy cow. Your persistence will pay off. And our vets are counting on you. And just let us know, please, what we can do to help. I mean, we’ll get the word out here, if you could let me know when you get the goods from the DEA, and we’ll put the word out for you. And support you.

Sue: That sounds great. I really appreciate you letting us share this with your listeners. And please, hopefully you’ll allow us to come back down the road so we can update you on where things are at.

Mark: We will definitely do that. All right, thank you Doctor Sisley, appreciate it, keep up the good work. Stay focused.

Sue: Appreciate you. Take care, man.

Mark: Yup, take care. There you have it folks, fascinating conversation about medical marijuana use for PTSD. Wow. Man, I am just blown away by that. And if you are a vet who’s interested then please go to the website unbeatablemind.com/podcast and download their flyer and get the email that she mentioned. And maybe you’re just learning about this for the first time, which is probably not true ’cause you guys talk, and if you’re suffering from PTSD then smoke some pot. That’ll help. All right. There you have it. That’s it for today folks. Stay focused. Train hard. Do your practice. And have fun.

Hooyah!

Coach Divine out.