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Mar-04-2010 13:09printcomments

VA Continues to Forbid Doctors to Recommend Medical Marijuana to PTSD Patients

Veterans Affairs refuses to recognize marijuana as an effective medicine, proven to relieve PTSD symptoms suffered by the men and women who defend our nation.

Marijuana leaf
Salem-News.com

(WASHINGTON D.C.) - Despite widespread evidence showing medical marijuana to be a safe and effective treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs forbids all VA doctors from recommending medical marijuana to veterans, even in the 14 states where medical marijuana is legal.

The VA policy is based on advice from the Drug Enforcement Administration, which has long-supported keeping marijuana in the Schedule I classification reserved for substances with no accepted medical use, placing it alongside substances like heroin and LSD.

A 2008 study by the RAND Corporation showed that 20 percent of soldiers returning home from Iraq and Afghanistan suffer from PTSD. A 2007 study in the Journal of Traumatic Stress found that marijuana can be an effective treatment for severe PTSD symptoms.

In New Mexico, PTSD is the most common affliction treated among those enrolled in the state’s medical marijuana program, according to the New Mexico Dept. of Health. One such patient is Army Veteran Paul Culkin, who served in Iraq as a staff sergeant with the Army’s bomb squad and now heads the New Mexico Medical Marijuana Patient’s Group.

“As a country, we are committed to providing the best equipment and weapons to our servicemen and women on the battlefield. Similarly, our soldiers should be offered the best and most effective medical treatments when we return home, but this is simply not the case,” Culkin stated. “Marijuana is a proven and legitimate medicine and the VA needs to start listening to the scientific facts.”

According to University of Albany clinical psychologist Dr. Mitch Earleywine, “It is an outrage that the men and women who risk their lives keeping us free are now forced to risk their own freedom to obtain a medicine they feel works best to treat their PTSD. Marijuana can be an effective medicine for some key symptoms of PTSD. There is no question that our country’s bravest should have safe access to it.”

Salem-News.com's Dr. Phil Leveque has been covering VA refusal to allow veterans to use medical marijuana. Salem-News.com Articles written by Dr. Phil Leveque

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Source: The Marijuana Policy Project




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A. Joe March 7, 2010 6:33 pm (Pacific time)

I didn't realize politicians now held a medical license and know what is best for a suffering patient. Why don't we leave the doctor stuff to the doctors?


Daughter March 4, 2010 6:05 pm (Pacific time)

My dad was a Vietnam Veteran, and the only thing that helped him get by was smoking marijuana. I don't understand why the authorities would rather have had him drinking and ending up in jail rather than being a good active father and husband. I guess it is all about the money.


Anonymous March 4, 2010 4:06 pm (Pacific time)

As a Vietnam veteran I used cannabis on a regular basis after I returned home. I seemed to trancend back into civilian life much smoother. I had given up alcohol in Vietnam and I believe that helped too. The morons in Washington are on the payroll of big booze and big pharma. I love this country but I loath our Government and their head up their ass policies. Killing for them while I was in Vietnam was just fine with them but when I returned home I was a criminal for using the only drug I really needed at the time. Back then was the dark ages as far as PSTD and you were sort of on your own. Marijuana helped.


TYC March 4, 2010 2:52 pm (Pacific time)

I love you folks! Keep up the excellent work!

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Sean Flynn was a photojournalist in Vietnam, taken captive in 1970 in Cambodia and never seen again.



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