NEW YORK ( MainStreet) — The first federal study on the efficacy of treating post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) with marijuana has just been given the green light to proceed to the next regulatory hurdle – approval by the DEA. That said, the approval by the federal Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) last week is considered by many to be not only a welcome surprise but a revolutionary advance through a traditional stumbling block to this and similar trials.

The main holdup? The study proposal from the University of Arizona had been cleared over a year ago by the federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) but was stymied by lack of access to the only federally legal marijuana source in the lower 48 – a grow farm in Mississippi.

The proposal, helmed by University of Arizona Professor Suzanne Sisley, aims to measure the efficacy of the drug on PTSD suffered by veterans treated via five different potencies of marijuana delivered via smoked or vaporized sources.

50 veterans will participate in what is being widely hailed as a groundbreaking research effort. Up to 20% of veterans who served in Iraq or Afghanistan are presumed to be affected by the trauma induced disorder, and more than 7.7 million Americans currently suffer with the diagnosis but almost no easy relief.

PTSD is one of a growing list of neurological if not formerly labelled "psychiatric" conditions for which cannabinoids have been widely, if unofficially used to treat symptoms which often are unresponsive to all other forms of treatment. Marijuana, despite many claims by detractors over the years, is still largely considered by users or those who advocate its medicinal use, as the only substance which provides symptomatic relief without either the toxicity or side effects found in all other treatments for these conditions.

The trial in Arizona is the latest of what have been widely watched and reported on federal trials of cannabinoids in plant or drug form for different uses over the past decade in particular.

A high profile European and American trial of an Israeli cannabinoid based drug is due to begin testing later this year. That drug is used primarily to treat physical brain injuries . PTSD can be caused by a variety of factors, with both physical and psychological causes if not triggers.

PTSD also, like many neurological conditions where marijuana has shown to be efficacious via both clinical studies if not unregulated/unprescribed patient use, is one with no formal diagnosis, no cure and no easily medicated outcome. Other drugs used in the past as part of therapy for this devastating condition come with a long list of serious and long lasting complications, including not only inefficient symptom relief but impaired cognition if not addiction.