The study is open to participants diagnosed with PTSD including Veterans and First Responders to assess the benefits of Medical Cannabis
TORONTO, March 15, 2016 /CNW/ - For Veterans and First Responders who struggle daily with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, treatment options are often limited. Apollo Applied Research, a network of medical cannabis clinics across Canada, regularly conducts studies to examine the benefits of medical cannabis on various conditions. Apollo currently prescribes medical cannabis for patients diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and has seen its benefits as a viable treatment option. The Clinic is launching a cross-Canada study to test the effects of certain strains of medical cannabis for Veterans and First Responders in order to lessen PTSD symptoms and improve quality of life for patients and their families.
The study is a logical step in assessing the efficacy of medical cannabis for this very serious mental health condition, as well as determining the safety of medical cannabis to reduce PTSD symptoms. Symptoms include flashbacks, nightmares, estrangement, detachment from other people, paranoia and sleep disturbance, leading to a significant impairment of quality of life.
"This research study is a passion project and it is timely given the national attention that is being given to Veterans, First Responders and to mental health awareness overall. There has been a lot of anecdotal evidence and now it's time for validated research." said Bryan Hendin, President of Apollo Applied Research Inc.
WHAT: Prospective Observational Trial for Medical Cannabis in the Treatment of PTSD. Apollo's future state plans include taking the observational results and implementing a controlled clinical trial.
WHEN: The study is currently approved by Ontario's Institutional Review Board (IRB) and is already underway. The study is four months in duration.
WHERE: The study has already launched in Ontario and Apollo is finalizing its expansion in Nova Scotia, British Columbia, New Brunswick and Alberta which will happen shortly. Apollo is inviting medical offices across all provinces and territories in Canada to participate as partners to make this study a true representation of Canadian including veterans and first responders diagnosed and coping with PTSD across the country.
WHO: The study will enroll 352 patients already diagnosed with PTSD as per DSM-V criteria. Three experienced Canadian specialists, Dr. Paula Williams MD DAAPM (Ontario), Dr. Adam Moscovitch MD, FRCPC, DABSM, DABPN (Calgary and Toronto) and Dr. Paul Smith MD CCFP (New Brunswick) will lead the study as Principal Investigators.
HOW: To learn more about our research studies you can visit www.apolloresearch.ca or contact Apollo Clinic at 416-840-5991 (Ontario) or Toll Free at (877) 560-9195. Inquiries can also be emailed to [email protected].
Apollo is working closely with advocates in the veteran and first responder community who have a personal interest in seeing research on other treatment options for PTSD sufferers. Pat Stogran is one such advocate who wants to see better support and treatment for veterans suffering with PTSD. He led the first troops into Afghanistan in 2001 and now also suffers from PTSD himself. He is a retired colonel with Canadian Forces Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry and Canada's first Veteran's Ombudsman in 2007.
"Treating PTSD is a matter of life and death," Stogran said, who is no stranger from advocating for veterans.
The medical team at Apollo are also strong advocates for patients to have access to medical cannabis as a treatment option. Apollo's physicians have been among the first to prescribe medical cannabis at a time when many in the medical community steered away from this type of treatment.
Apollo is pleased to have exceptional Principal Investigators working on this research study. Dr. Paula Williams MD DAAPM who has seen and treated many PTSD patients in her more than 30 years of practice in Ontario. Joining the study is Dr. Adam Moscovitch MD, FRCPC, who has also treated many patients with PTSD including veterans and first responders. Dr. Moscovitch has a specialty in Sleep Medicine and Psychiatry, and is also a former military officer and combat veteran. Dr. Paul Smith MD CCFP is also a welcome addition to the Investigation team and has the most experience with prescribing medical cannabis for PTSD patients. In addition to his extensive experience prescribing, he has worked with the Department of National Defense (Canada) and will be an asset to the team.
"We have learned a lot from our current Chronic Pain and Medical Cannabis research study on what strains and prescribing methods work best for our chronic pain patients," said Bryan Hendin. "This is our second large-scale study and Apollo Applied Research is currently planning to conduct research on other conditions not yet explored. It is our hope that our PTSD study will lead to further research partnerships including Veteran Affairs Canada."
He also notes that Canada is a leading example for other countries who wish to put medicinal cannabis to the test for treating a variety of conditions.
"Currently in the United States, studies are stalled due to the lack of federal approval of using cannabis for testing," says Hendin. "Strains of medical marijuana are classified as a Schedule 1 drug, which is tightly controlled by the Food and Drug Administration. This presents a challenge for conducting studies with American veterans who are struggling with PTSD. Canada is positioned to be a leader in medical cannabis research.
Apollo Applied Research Backgrounder
Apollo Applied Research-conducts clinical research trials in the field of chronic pain. The certified professional team manages all aspects of study conduct, patient recruitment, ethical approvals, site monitoring, training (GCP & Protocol), and more. Apollo currently leads two of Canada's largest medical cannabis studies, and will be initiating stem cell and other regenerative medicine therapies beginning this spring. Apollo Clinics have seen and prescribed medical cannabis to over 2,000 patients for a variety of conditions. The company has conducted validated research since 2014 and strives to bridge the knowledge gap by supporting evidence-based cannabis research.
Dr. Paula Williams
Dr. Paula Williams graduated from the University of Toronto in medicine in 1975, following two years as a CUSO volunteer in Tanzania. After a rotating internship she finished most of a four year residency program in anesthesia. The next few years were devoted to parenthood, general practice, working in an interventional pain clinic and teaching medical students. Because of her experience living in other countries for many years, she developed a great interest in patients who experienced trauma and who developed chronic pain as well as PTSD. Dr. Williams has enjoyed her pain management practice for 20 years. She maintains memberships in several international pain societies and continues medical teaching. She is a diplomate of the American Academy of Pain Management as well. Her interest in PTSD and other psychiatric disorders arose from her observations of the hundreds of pain patients she has met with over the years.
Dr. Williams is a lecturer in the Department of Family and Community Medicine, University of Toronto and has received a major teaching award. Her future plans include involvement with research projects to enhance our ability to help this challenging patient population.
Dr. Adam Moscovitch
Dr. Moscovitch is an internationally recognized Sleep and Fatigue Specialist, with a primary background in Psychiatry. As a child of two Holocaust survivors, and a past combat military veteran officer himself, he developed an early interest in research and clinical management of PTSD, with particular focus on the sleep ramifications. He has been in the sleep field for the last 27 years, following 3 years of fellowship in that subspecialty, two of those spent at Stanford as a visiting scholar and National Institute of Health research fellow. He is Diplomate of the American Boards of Sleep Medicine, Psychiatry and Neurology, and Forensic Medicine. He is an Associate Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry, The University of Calgary, where his research was recognized with the 2004 clinical researcher of the year award.
Throughout his career he has been treating PTSD sufferers, from Holocaust survivors, Military veterans both in Canada and the US, first responders, and trauma sufferers from other causes.
Dr. Paul Smith
Dr. Paul A Smith has 38 years of experience in Family Medicine, (Dalhousie University graduate 1978) and has spent half of his career with a rural medicine emphasis. Over 10 years with a growing interest in PTSD since working with the Department of National Defence for a year from 2000 to 2001 and working first-hand with Injured Veterans. He currently has a dedicated in family medicine practice clinic working with PTSD veterans on all levels, with an emphasis in stabilization and secondary treatments for PTSD, including neurofeedback. He has a very family oriented and multi-disciplined approach to medicine. He has training and interest in several psychiatric, physical medicine, and natural forms of medicine resulting in a very unique approach to PTSD.
Bryan Hendin is the President and CEO of Apollo Applied Research. He has experience in leading two world-class pain management centres, Allevio Pain Management Clinic and Apollo Applied Research. His passion for finding better solutions for patients with chronic pain started from a very personal experience with the lack of available and effective pain management alternatives. In 2013 he opened his second company Apollo Applied Research which is a pain management research clinic specializing in the treatment of chronic pain using Medical Cannabis. Due to the lack of research and clinical trials in the area of medical cannabis, Apollos medical and research teams are developing a number of research studies investigating the efficacy of medical cannabis in order to improve the quality of life for patients with particular medical conditions.
SOURCE Apollo Applied Research
Image with caption: "Apollo Applied Research (CNW Group/Apollo Applied Research)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20160315_C3547_PHOTO_EN_643807.jpg
For further information: on this release, and to schedule a media interview, please contact Donna Gray, Goddess Communications, 403.831.1150 or to [email protected] Visit www.apolloresearch.ca for details on Apollo's services and the PTSD study.