Iraq vet says cannabis helps him to feel comfort & balance rather than pain & anxiety

From Raw Story As for the treatment of PTSD, Israeli researchers have known for years that marijuana’s psychoactive ingredients are very effective, especially when administered within 24 hours of experiencing that trauma. Dr. Irit Akirav conducted a series of tests at Haifa University in 2009 that led her to conclude that the drug can be used as an effective PTSD treatment. “The results of our research should encourage psychiatric investigation into the use of cannabinoids in post-traumatic stress patients,” Akirav told reporters.

via Cannabis Patient Net

Wesley has been back from Iraq for a while. However, his experiences are all still very real. Ever since his return, he has been working hard to get his life back together, but, he’s no longer the innocent young man that so bravely enlisted years ago.

In Iraq, he often faced death and the horrors that surrounded it. As a Marine, he was trained for the worst, even nuclear attack. Though the military sufficiently trained him physically, nothing could have prepared him for the realities of war, experienced up close and personal.

He told me, “…you’re not meant to see some things, I believe that.”

The danger he faced was not always at the hands of the “enemy”. He was regularly exposed to depleted uranium from the tanks that fired off around him. No amount of body-armor could have protected him from the unseen threat that continually loomed around him and, in fact, he was ingesting sometimes 24 hours a day.

Now, back home, like tens of thousands of other servicemen and women returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, he has been diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress.

Post Traumatic Stress is a severe anxiety condition that results from psychological trauma, overwhelming one’s ability to cope.

Though PTS can and does affect anyone exposed to profound trauma, its most evident among military personnel who have been involved in combat. Little wonder why more soldiers die by their own hand than combat. In fact, one veteran dies by his own hand every 80 minutes. (Suicide Prevention Fact Sheet, Department of Veteran Affairs)

Prescription drugs did little to relieve Wesley’s torment and only added to his misery with horrendous side effects. He discovered that cannabis was the only thing that brought him comfort. With it, he was able to sleep; he was able to focus.

Wesley is getting his life back, unfortunately, to do so means being labeled a criminal by the very same government he so bravely defended. He laid down his life in the name of freedom and justice. Why cannot he be afforded the same?

For more information about Post Traumatic Stress and the science behind its most effective treatment, cannabis, please visit the Patients Out of Time

To find out more about ending cannabis prohibition in your state and across this nation, visit the National Cannabis Coalition

White House: No marijuana for PTSD

USA Today July 19 2012

An effort to persuade the Obama administration to legalize marijuana for sufferers of post-traumatic stress was met with rejection from the White House.

Responding to a petition signed by 8,258 people on the White House website, Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy Gil Kerlikowske wrote last month that marijuana is not a “benign drug” and does not meet standards of safe or effective medicine.

“When the President took office, he directed all his policymakers to develop policies on science and research, not ideology or politics,” Kerlikowske wrote.

The White House usually requires 25,000 signatures before it will respond to such petitions.

The “Allow United States Disabled Military Veterans Access To Medical Marijuana To Treat Their PTSD” petition was launched last year by former Air Force sergeant Mike Krawitz, executive director of Veterans for Medical Cannabis Access.

Krawitz said he launched the drive partially out of concern that veterans sometimes risk losing their Veterans Affairs Department medical coverage if they are found to smoke pot.

“For many, cannabis not only treats PTSD, it’s a lifesaver,” Krawitz told Military Times in October.

Seventeen states and the District of Columbia allow doctors to prescribe marijuana for medicinal purposes, but it remains illegal under federal law.

The Obama administration has held steadfast in enforcing federal laws applicable to medical marijuana production, sales and distribution. Kerlikowske said the administration maintains that marijuana use is associated with cognitive impairment, respiratory illnesses and addiction.

“We know from an array of treatment admission information and federal data that marijuana use is a significant source for voluntary drug treatment admissions and visits to emergency rooms,” he wrote.

He added that the administration supports research on the phytochemicals in marijuana that might have medicinal value.

~~

Study: Cannabis May Mitigate Traumatic Memories In Patients With PTSD
by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director July 5, 2012

[Editor’s note: This post is excerpted from this week’s forthcoming NORML weekly media advisory. To have NORML’s news alerts and legislative advisories delivered straight to your in-box, sign up here.]

The use of cannabis and cannabinoids appears to mitigate symptoms associated with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), according to a new review of clinical and preclinical evidence published online in the scientific journal Drug Testing and Analysis.

An international team of investigators from Germany, the United States, and the United Kingdom reported that the use of cannabis to “dramatically reduced” PTSD symptoms in a single 19-year-old male patient.

Authors reported: “In the case report presented in this review, the patient displayed a grave pathology involving anxiety, dissociation and heavy flashbacks as a consequence of PTSD. … The patient stated that he found cannabis more useful than lorazepam. … It is evident from the case history that the patient experienced reduced stress, less involvement with flashbacks and a significant decrease of anxiety.

Authors further cited “accumulating clinical and preclinical evidence that cannabinoids may mitigate some major symptoms associated with PTSD.”

They concluded: “Cannabis may dampen the strength or emotional impact of traumatic memories through synergistic mechanisms that might make it easier for people with PTSD to rest or sleep and to feel less anxious and less involved with flashback memories. … Evidence is increasingly accumulating that cannabinoids might play a role in fear extinction and anti-depressive effects. It is concluded that further studies are warranted in order to evaluate the therapeutic potential of cannabinoids in PTSD.”

Last year, administrators at the United States Department of Health and Human Services, National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) blocked investigators at the University of Arizona at Phoenix from conducting an FDA-approved, placebo-controlled clinical trial to evaluate the use of cannabis in 50 patients with PTSD.

Under federal law, any clinical trial evaluations involving cannabis must receive NIDA approval because the agency is the only source of legal cannabis for FDA-approved research purposes. In 2010, a spokesperson for the agency told The New York Times: “[O]ur focus is primarily on the negative consequences of marijuana use. We generally do not fund research focused on the potential beneficial medical effects of marijuana.”

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