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  1. chillinwill
    The Department of Veterans Affairs finds itself in a difficult position because some vets want to use marijuana to treat symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. Pot possession remains illegal under federal law. The VA says that as a federal agency its doctors can't recommend using it.
    View attachment 14716
    The problem is especially acute in New Mexico, where one-fourth of the state's more than 1,600 medical marijuana patients are PTSD sufferers.

    'Medical Cannabis Saved Our Marriage'

    Paul Culkin of Rio Rancho, N.M., traces his PTSD back to 2004 when he was in Kosovo and part of an Army bomb squad. A car crashed into a business. The manager was inside trying to put out a fire. Culkin went in once to try to get him to leave, but he wouldn't go.

    "The second time when I went in to get him out of there — that's when the car bomb exploded and the glass hit me," Culkin says.

    He recovered from the physical wounds, but years later the trauma of that moment can come back without warning.

    "Sometimes you'll see a car that's just not in the right place and it'll send me back to that thinking that it could, possibly, be a car bomb," Culkin says.

    Culkin started avoiding social situations and was quick to anger. He says the treatment he's received from the VA — mostly counseling and antidepressant medication — has helped. But, he says, marijuana also works well to relieve his anxiety.

    To be legal in New Mexico, he had to go outside the VA system and pay for another doctor and a psychiatrist to recommend him for the state's medical marijuana program. Then he spent more than $1,500 to set up a small growing operation in his garage.

    Culkin says he doesn't usually smoke the marijuana, instead choosing to dissolve an extract in hot chocolate or tea so he can control the dose better.

    His wife, Victoria, says the marijuana has made a big difference.

    "He's a different person. He's a better person. He's more open. He's more communicative," she says. "At one point, we almost got a divorce, and I can honestly say that I think medical cannabis saved our marriage and our family."

    The Quest For Solid Research

    Anecdotal evidence such as this hasn't swayed the VA. The agency responded to NPR's questions on the matter with this statement: "Based on guidance issued by the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Department of Justice, VA General Counsel has advised that completion of a state medical marijuana form is in violation of the Controlled Substances Act and subject to its enforcement provisions. Therefore VA physicians and practitioners may not participate in state medical marijuana programs. VA has addressed issues/questions regarding medical marijuana separately as they have arisen but is in the process of developing national policy."

    Meanwhile there are still questions about marijuana's effectiveness, especially in the medical community.

    "There is no solid evidence that cannabinoids — that marijuana — is, in itself, an effective treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder," says Dr. David Spiegel, director of the Stanford Center on Stress and Health. "Before anyone can claim that, there needs to be some more solid research on that topic."

    Spiegel says recovery from trauma begins with the victims regaining control, over both their bodies and their mental reactions to the traumatic event. Smoking marijuana could make that more difficult, he says.

    "The last thing you want is to be losing control at a time when you're remembering an event in which you lost control," Spiegel says.

    Culkin says he doesn't use marijuana to a level that he loses control.

    "There is a difference between medical cannabis and what you did back in college," Culkin says. "Smoking in the dorm room and listening to Pink Floyd is not what medical cannabis is about."

    Culkin's experience has turned him into an activist. He started an informal patients group a few months back and has become a spokesman for others who believe they were helped by marijuana.

    The arguments around marijuana and PTSD start running in circles at a certain point. Scientists say more research is needed. Activists counter that the federal government has blocked research because marijuana is illegal. The American Medical Association has called for controlled studies to settle this and other questions about the effectiveness of marijuana.

    Meanwhile, policymakers in states with medical marijuana programs have to make decisions now, and they're reaching different conclusions. While New Mexico found there's enough evidence to approve marijuana use for PTSD, next door in Colorado lawmakers recently rejected a similar proposal.

    by Jeff Brady
    May 19, 2010


  1. Terrapinzflyer
    Re: Can Marijuana Can Ease PTSD? A Debate Brews

    Marijuana/PTSD Protocol Drafted; MAPS Tries Again to Overcome PHS/NIDA Obstacles

    We’ve completed the initial draft of a MAPS-sponsored marijuana/PTSD protocol, designed as a pilot study to investigate whether medical marijuana might be a safe and efficacious treatment for PTSD. We plan to refine the protocol and submit it to the FDA in the next four to eight weeks. Sue Sisley, M.D., will lead the study, planned to take place near Phoenix, Arizona. The study is titled "Placebo-Controlled, Double-Blind Study of the Safety and Efficacy of Smoked or Vaporized Cannabis in 32 Veterans with PTSD.” Sasha Stafford, B.S., joined us to help create the first draft this protocol. Stafford earned his B.S. in chemistry, has worked in regulatory affairs and clinical research, and is the son of Psychedelic Encyclopedia author Peter Stafford.

    The need for scientific research into the risks and benefits of medical marijuana use is urgent, as evidenced by NPR’s broadcast this past week about the use of marijuana to treat symptoms of PTSD. But there continue to be major obstacles to FDA drug development research with marijuana that MAPS has been trying unsuccessfully for almost a decade to overcome. The primary obstacle is that the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) has a monopoly on the supply of marijuana for use in clinical research and uses that monopoly to obstruct privately funded studies into the potential beneficial uses of marijuana.

    With more and more states voting to legalize marijuana as a medicine, medical professionals are increasingly searching for clinical studies to draw upon when choosing whether or not to recommend marijuana as a treatment.

    We anticipate that we will eventually be able to obtain FDA and IRB approval for our protocol. Realistically, based on statements by NIDA official Steven Gust, Ph.D., we expect that the NIDA/Public Health Services (PHS) review process will take at least a year (as compared to FDA's 30-day review process), and probably much longer. The initial response from PHS/NIDA is supposed to take six months, but we’ve seen past instances where it has taken years. Since it is inevitable that there will be some critiques of some aspects of the protocol, the PHS/NIDA review process for our response will likely take at least another 6 months. This time delay is outrageous. MAPS fears that the NIDA/PHS review will result in the protocol being rejected, even though we are not asking for a penny of federal money and are seeking to purchase NIDA marijuana at cost. Hopefully our dim view of the politically required and totally unnecessary PHS/NIDA protocol review process will be disproven, perhaps due to sympathy for veterans and also to the negative publicity NIDA would receive if the protocol is rejected.

    Our study is designed as a four-arm study. Three groups will receive NIDA marijuana with 2%, 6% or 12% THC. The fourth group will receive marijuana that is about 6% THC and 7% CBD, since we would like to compare and contrast the effects of marijuana with THC with marijuana with THC and CBD, which has been reported to have anti-anxiety properties. NIDA has no marijuana available with any significant levels of CBD, but claims to be able to provide whatever researchers request. The U.K. Company GW Pharmaceuticals manufactures a marijuana extract administered under the tongue, Sativex, which is 50% THC and 50% CBD. Bedrocan in the Netherlands has a plant strain that is 6% THC and 7% CBD, but their product is not yet approved by FDA for use in clinical research, though Bedrocan is seeking to obtain approval from FDA for use of its marijuana in U.S. clinical trials.

    If NIDA were sincerely interested in facilitating medical marijuana research, it would already have asked Dr. ElSohly (a professor at the University of Mississippi who is the only person in the U.S. licensed to grow marijuana for research under contract to NIDA) to produce a strain of marijuana with substantial levels of CBD as well as THC. Rather, Dr. ElSohly claims that no researcher has ever requested marijuana with CBD, and has therefore not produced any. Whether NIDA will order Dr. ElSohly to produce a strain of marijuana that is 6% THC and 7% CBD for our proposed study is anybody's guess. Even if NIDA does request it, how long it will take for Dr. ElSohly to create such a strain and have it approved by FDA for use in clinical research is also anybody's guess. It's been 28 years since the first paper indexed in medline showed that CBD has anti-anxiety properties (Psychopharmacology (Berl). 1982;76(3):245-50. Action of cannabidiol on the anxiety and other effects produced by delta 9-THC in normal subjects. Zuardi AW, Shirakawa I, Finkelfarb E, Karniol IG.) The fact that NIDA still doesn’t have a strain with significant amounts of CBD shows that NIDA is not proactively seeking to facilitate medical marijuana research, yet another reason why the NIDA monopoly needs to end.

    NIDA's monopoly fundamentally obstructs medical marijuana research. We are aware of no privately-funded medical marijuana research in the U.S. in over 40 years. It doesn't make sense to spend money on research for which the sponsor doesn't have control over price, availability, and content of the marijuana strains to be tested and perhaps eventually brought to market. Dr. ElSohly is the only person authorized by DEA to grow marijuana for research and has massive and obvious conflicts of interest against seeing more marijuana plant products become available as medicines. Dr. ElSohly has financial interests in generic Marinol made by Mallinckrodt from THC which Dr. ElSohly extracts from marijuana he and he alone has permission to grow for medical purposes, and for his own personal financial gain.

    MAPS is going ahead with our marijuana/PTSD protocol design and approval process because of the pressing social interest in finding new treatments for vets with PTSD. In addition, since we are already sponsoring MDMA/PTSD research, we can learn a great deal more about treating PTSD if we also initiate a marijuana/PTSD study.

    In February 2007, DEA Administrative Law Judge Mary Ellen Bittner ruled that it is in the public interest for the DEA to license Prof. Lyle Craker, UMass Amherst, to grow marijuana under contract to MAPS, ending NIDA's monopoly. The DEA has tried to reject Bittner's recommendation, but we have filed a Motion to Reconsider to which DEA has not yet responded, following its long and successful strategy of delay. The Senate confirmation hearing of Michele Leonhart, to be Administrator of the DEA has not yet been scheduled. She signed the order overruling Bittner’s recommendation and led the DEA’s efforts to arrest medical marijuana patients and providers in medical marijuana states, yet was still nominated by Pres. Obama. We're working to have her questioned by Senators on the Judiciary Committee about the DEA’s rejection of the ALJ recommendation.

    Meanwhile, U.S. vets with PTSD are increasingly using marijuana to treat PTSD without any scientific research on that use. MAPS will do its best to try to bring some science to bear on marijuana for PTSD, even with the obstacles placed in the way by the NIDA monopoly and the PHS/NIDA protocol review process that exists for marijuana but for no other drug. Perhaps the PHS/NIDA reviewers will pay attention to the words of U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, who stated during a recent appearance at a gathering of mental health professionals on October 26, 2009, “Beyond waging the wars we are in, treatment of our wounded, their continuing care, and eventual reintegration into everyday life is my highest priority, … I consider this a solemn pact between those who have suffered and the nation that owes them its eternal gratitude."


    there is much more on the blog about MAPS various research protocols, both ongoing and planned.
  2. SGT.ER
    This guy I know whom has a asociates of science in chemistry-took intro to bio chem and limited neurology. He is also going to school to get his Bachalors of science of nursing so he can become a DR, PA, Nurse Practioner. (so one day he can do some mad sciencetis type shit) To his knowledge. THC...don't know what percent CBD. Has an effect of blocking the H-1 and N-1 Neuro inhibitors giving the patients a good "feeling". Intrusive thoughts were limited by a large margin. Many had reported reduced (bad dreams) They also felt less mania. (statisticaly) these guys were on tons of drugs. (so not sure if it was the combo or the weed it self) Though many of the patients can't be said to have ptsd % levels according to the va one guy can have 100 percent for having been attacked by a cammel spider as another guy like could of been sniperd at in a gaurd tower and only given 10 percent. The soma is the body of the neuron.{tons of data/ info lost b/c i'm a newb} . The nucleus can range from 3 to 18 micrometers in diameter. The thc or cannibis inhibits protein synthesis, and messes with the cellular mitosis of the neurons. (long term side effects may out weight short term benifits <---This was done on non-human subjects. The thing is I would not take it. I have ptsd i was in oif II, III IV. I was a pog. (non 11-b, 13-F) I was in 3rd I d and combat arms, but lets face it i was 15H. Aviation pneudraulics specialist (SGT) type. So i was on the dart team (down aircraft recovery team). I also had a friend commit suicide 10 feet away from me. (i did not see it happen, but saw them find his body and joked, He must of lost his head". The way they are doing this study is so fucking sad and non science tific that it's sure to shit fist medical marijuana, for the vets even though it maybe a good quick fix for "rage bombs" like XannaX. which i'm currently on and hate the side effects. It just needs more non GOVERNMENTAL STUDY. It will probably take many more years to get the true answer we seek.
  3. prescriptionperil
    In Connecticut PTSD is one of the limited conditions for which MMJ has been approved. Interestingly, I self medicated with weed, while the circumstances surrounding my PTSD remained lodged in my subconscious for decades. Being a legitimate chronic pain patient I buy cheap THC strips to self test in the event of a random whiz quiz. Late August 2013, the US Dept. of Justice rendered jurisdiction to individual states regarding marijuana laws. Although in Connecticut cannabis is Schedule 2 for research purposes, under draconian federal law it falsely remains Schedule 1.

    Obviously, PTSD exists outside the realm of military service, but I'm certain vets are the catalyst for the current inclusion of MMJ for PTSD. From my research the studies conducted have shown altered cannabinoids in the brains of those with PTSD. Many with PTSD, myself included, have unknowningly self medicated PTSD with cannabinoids.

    Despite assurance by the state my pain management physician would be at no risk of losing his license
    I may just continue self testing for THC rather than rocking the boat. My psychiatrist has no qualms regarding using cannabis for PTSD. Mixing cannabis and opiates is far safer than my current mixture of benzos and opiates.

    For some reason my attempts at providing outside links are chronically fruitless. Therefore a plethora of documentation can be accessed via Google searching cannabinoids PTSD.
  4. hellborndisease
    I served in the Army from 2007 to October 2013 as a reservist though had much active duty during that time. I served in Afghanistan as a Convoy Security Machine Gunner...needless to say, my unit experienced bad times. Lost 3, many hurt. I been living with PTSD and major depression. I've been placed on many different antidepressants though none worked and some gave me weird side effects. Marijuana and stimulants have saved me from committing suicide. Due to money and being illegal, ability to have all the time isn't possible. I am just one of many that are proof of marijuana providing ease to PTSD.
    I am not able to provide more recent articles on the situation due to site rules involving my new membership, but I would be glad once I can.
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