New York University medical school research into using a marijuana-like drug to treat PTSD sufferers turned out to be so flawed that eight studies were suspended and the data was rejected as unreliable, the New York Times reports. Federal investigators found that the research led by Dr. Alexander Neumeister failed to carry out the follow-ups that would be expected in any study, let alone one involving dozens of subjects with mental disorders. Dr. Charles Marmar, chief of NYU's psychiatry department, says Neumeister was suspended after fellow researchers raised their concerns. Neumeister, who has now resigned, was also accused of violations such as signing a fellow researcher's name instead of his own on reports.
The study was an attempt to follow up earlier research that suggested marijuana relieved anxiety in people with PTSD. "I think their intent was good, and they were considerate to me," test subject Diane Ruffcorn, who says she has PTSD from being abused as a child, tells the Times. "But what concerned me, I was given this drug, and all these tests, and then it was goodbye, I was on my own. There was no follow-up." Ruffcorn, who documented the trial in her blog, A Little Bent, says she had to stop and restart her existing medication several times after the study had false starts—and after experiencing some strange symptoms, she was relieved to discover she had been in the placebo group. (This veteran is using formerly abused horses to help other vets deal with PTSD.)