The Weed for Warriors Project plans to hold a rally and march in Washington, D.C., Monday, May 8, to publicize Johns Hopkins University pulling out of a medical research study on the use of marijuana to treat Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
The rally begins at noon ET at Dupont Circle followed by a march to a nearby Johns Hopkins building. The Warriors plan to hold a related demonstration in Oakland on Monday.
The Warriors argue that medical marijuana could better treat veterans with PTSD than prescription opioids which can be addictive. The Warriors claim that about 65,000 veterans have died from suicide and prescription drug overdoses since 2011.
A multi-year study found around 25% fewer deaths from painkiller overdoses in states that had legalized medical marijuana. The study was led by Dr. Marcus A. Bachhuber with the Philadelphia Veterans Affairs Medical Center and the results were first published in 2014 in Jama Internal Medicine.
Monday’s rally follows a decision in March by the university to end its participation in a study on marijuana and PTSD that was to be conducted by the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS).
MAPS said it was awarded a $2.15 million grant from Colorado in 2014 to study smoked marijuana and PTSD in veterans with the study to be conducted at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore and at the Scottsdale Research Institute in Phoenix.
Just why Hopkins pulled out of the study has been the subject of debate. A spokesperson for the university said its goals for the study no longer fit with that of MAPS. A MAPS researcher told PBS in March that the government-grown marijuana to be used for the study was moldy and didn’t have enough THC, a psychoactive component that gets the user high.
A series of emails between the lead researcher from Hopkins and Weed for Warriors indicate that the researcher had questions about MAPS ability to conduct the study. On May 5, Weed for Warriors responded with a post on its website titled “Johns Hopkins Further Insults America’s Veterans With Their Response! What Are They Hiding?”
Johns Hopkins is a powerhouse in federal government research. It has been the number one university receiving federal research grants for more than 35 years, and received $2.2 billion in fiscal 2013 alone.
Both MAPS and Weed for Warriors are based in Santa Cruz, Calif. Weed for Warriors is primarily a West Coast organization, according to a map of chapters on its website.