Monday May 20, 2013
Concerning the Editorial Pot for PTSD? Oregon's Medical Marijuana Law Needs Grounding in Science, MedicineOp-Ed by Michael Krawitz for Salem-News.com
We have a preponderance of research on how cannabis works in the brain and body on PTSD.
(PORTLAND, OR) - I am glad that the Oregonian Editorial Board thinks enough of this subject matter to dedicate an entire editorial just to respond to the excellent article, earlier this week, by Oregonian's own Noelle Crombie however some of the things they say are incorrect and their tone is offensive to the men and women that I serve as a Veteran's advocate so I hope you will allow me time to address these issues.
First, many or most of the Veterans that are seen at VA hospitals for treatment of Post Traumatic Stress are given a host of medications including strong pain killers so yes many to most of those Veterans are currently served by the provision in Oregon law that allows for chronic pain but I don't share their enthusiasm for this because the inflated numbers of chronic pain patients on the state program have become a red flag to law enforcement who are actively seeking to dismantle the program and strip Oregonian's of their protection to use cannabis under doctors supervision. One has to ask if this was the intention of the Editorial Board as well. 
Cannabis is a well proven pain medication that has stood the scrutiny of double blind placebo based studies so it sounds reasonable when the Editorial Board calls for similar studies for PTSD and the lack of these studies was cited in Arizona but that isn't a reasonable demand given the federal government has blocked our every effort to conduct these studies. The editorial board, being well read, must know how hard we have tried to study this indication.  
Instead of asking why Arizona shot down our efforts to add PTSD as a qualifying condition I think the better question would have been why did New Mexico approve cannabis for PTSD? They did so because they considered the medical evidence that is available. We have a preponderance of research on how cannabis works in the brain and body on PTSD, the so called endo-cannabinoid receptor system and studies that show how the various chemicals in cannabis work for the various symptoms that we call PTSD but this information is complicated and it takes a medically trained individual to lay this evidence out and a system set up to listen, things New Mexico had in place but not Arizona nor Oregon unfortunately. 
Finally I want to address the tone of this editorial and why it is so offensive to the men and women that have served our country honorably in our armed forces. The Editorial Board portrays the Veterans as pawns that are nothing more than a flag draped around the shoulders of pot heads trying to change the law. Veterans come down and testify in support of a change in the law because they know Cannabis works first hand. That's simple enough, but why does my organization made up of and for Veterans support the change in law? Veterans For Medical Cannabis Access supports the change in law because we are losing 18 Veterans per day to suicide and because the drugs that the VA is throwing at these Vets are ineffective and because we have taken the time to consider the evidence. We believe that allowing for PTSD in Oregon state law will help us better understand how many people in the program are really suffering from Post Traumatic Stress and not primarily pain patients. We believe that when this happens it will go a long way to removing the stigma associated with seeking treatment for PTSD and this will save lives.    
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