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Nov-07-2013 12:55printcomments

Marijuana: Best Therapy for PTSD

Better than alcohol, and most drugs: It will prevent millions of deaths


(PORTLAND, Ore.) - When I first started being a marijuana doctor, I had a lot of combat veterans with all kinds of physical wounds. These patients were eligible for medical marijuana permits. Many of them told me that they also had PTSD and they found out for themselves in Viet Nam that marijuana was good for combat terrors related to battle fatigue or shell shock, from WWI and WWII.

PTSD is related to battle fatigue, but it is far more serious and certainly more insidious.

These early combat veterans were perplexed that they could not legally or medically obtain marijuana which worked “miraculously” for the extremes of combat stress. Other doctors, especially in California, treated many PTSD veterans because marijuana was okay for that, in California. As of Jan 1 2014, it will be okay in Oregon.

New Mexico found that more than 50% of marijuana medical applicants were combat veterans with PTSD.

One of the first articles written by myself on this subject for was “Medical Marijuana: PTSD and Medical Malpractice" (June 14, 2007). I pointed out that the standard drugs, Antidepressants, Beta blockers, anticonvulsants, and anti-psychotics did not work for PTSD. Actually, many other standard medications didn’t work either, such as, strong sedatives, strong analgesics, and muscle relaxants made the patients groggy and stupefied.

In fact, Dr. Tod Mikuriya, the outstanding figure of the doctor marijuana advocates actually wrote an article about PTSD medications (2006) in O’Shaunessey’s. He called it, the Toxic Alternatives, which include SSRIs, serotonin acting antidepressants, second-generation antidepressants, MAOIs which prolong the action of the above drugs. Others are tricyclics, antidepressants, antiadrenergic drugs, anticonvulsants, and a-typical anti-psychotics.

I am a retired professor of pharmacology and when I read about this “dirty dozen”, I choked! Dr. Mikuriya wrote a long, excellent article entitled “Cannabis Eases Post Traumatic Stress” which I think was the first, real article on the subject.

Alcohol is a very dangerous medicine for PTSD.

Dr. Mikuriya’s article is highly recommended. He recommended marijuana for all the medical problems associated with PTSD.

Well, I have been doing marijuana research for the past 60 years and intensified searches for the past 10 years, I have come across articles by psychologists, possible social science workers, and a whole bunch of others who seem to be trying the old “lay on the couch and tell me about your worst experiences”. The main symptom of severe PTSD is that the victims can NOT talk about them! But I do understand that the VA centers do have some kind of “talk therapy” which should be abandoned as worthless or counter productive.

In an article titled, “What Works for PTSD” by Alexandra Carmichael, she posts with a figure or chart about 30 therapies tried for PTSD with their levels of effectiveness, rated from 0.1 to 0.9 and their popularity with the patients, rated from 0.1 to 0.8.

There are two sides to this chart. The first side is treatments which are surprisingly effective. The other chart is somewhat different.

  • Art Therapy, which I scarcely believe
  • Use clear shower curtains (is this about the movie Psycho?)
  • Marijuana, which I fully endorse
  • Support group (these don’t work, either)
  • EMDR 'Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing' (Does this really work?)
  • Eat no sugar (??????)
  • Acupuncture (???)
  • The drug Wellbutrin
  • Psychiatric in-patient care (!!!)
  • Xanex (most powerful of the Valium-like drugs)

In the second chart, about popularity of the treatments, we have:

  • Cognitive behavior Therapy (I don’t believe it)
  • Avoid certain noises (like tanks or artillery, for starters)
  • Psychotherapy (?)
  • Anti-anxiety medicine (marijuana?)
  • Meditation (If only this would work.)
  • Preserve daily routines (If only we could.)
  • White noise while trying to sleep
  • Avoid certain places (like war zones)
  • Exercise (??)
  • Healthy eating (!!!)

My first article on this subject on was in 2007, Oregon Medical Marijuana Doctor on PTSD; it has very few facebook "recommends" as that feature was not available in the beginning.

My second article “Marijuana vs Antidepressants for PTSD” in 2009 had 887 recommends.

"Medical Marijuana Prevents PTSD Suicides!" from August 2012 had 590 recommends.

My fourth article "PTSD/Depression and Anguish" in March 2013 had 345 recommends.

My fifth article, May 2013, "Marijuana Prevents Suicides (of PTSD Victims)" had 604 recommends.

The sixth article, published in August 2013,"Marijuana Can Prevent Millions of Tobacco Deaths", had 650 recommends.

Last June, Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber signed Senate Bill 281 which added PTSD to the list of "debilitating medical conditions" so that patients can get a permit to legally use cannabis medicinally. That goes into effect Jan 1, 2014.

In addition to my own articles on this subject, I have extracted much of this information from hundreds of articles by dozens of authors. The strangest thing is that, like me, we are all gleaners of useful information from as many sources as we can find.


For more information, SEARCH "Marijuana Leveque Cannabis", &/or see this article: Dr Phil Leveque: The Coolest 90-Year Old on Planet Earth


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Anonymous November 12, 2013 8:00 am (Pacific time)

On a more quasi-positive happening: "Military suicide rate down more than 22 percent since last year, defense officials say... November 11, 2013/ Associated Press WASHINGTON – Suicides across the military have dropped by more than 22 percent this year, defense officials said, amid an array of new programs targeting what the Defense Department calls an epidemic that took more service members' lives last year than the war in Afghanistan did during that same period. Military officials, however, were reluctant to pin the decline on the broad swath of detection and prevention efforts, acknowledging that they still don't fully understand why troops take their own lives. And since many of those who have committed suicide in recent years had never served on the warfront, officials also do not attribute the decrease to the end of the Iraq war and the drawdown in Afghanistan. Still, they offered some hope that after several years of studies, the escalating emphasis on prevention across all the services may finally be taking hold." I wonder if they have "blood tests" for comparing and contrasting possible chemicals in those who died at their own hand and those who did not. Maybe we are looking at a need to address suicides in the same way as what caused Vietnam veteran suicides to quickly plummet after nearly 5 years when they returned to the states? Pretty sure no drugs, prescribed or not were the cause for suicides to drop. Please also consider that to properly define a veteran population you need to officially define it. For example when they questioned incarcerated individuals many years ago, a large percentage said they were war veterans, when in fact, after a follow-up process, most never even served in the military. Thus results of many veteran metrics are wrong from the Vietnam period. Go see "Myths about Vietnam" to learn more actual facts, that is, if you really care about facts.

I care about facts but your last line tells me your motivations are something different.  For many years, we have had nation-wide computer systems that track and verify information.  There are cases of people posing as Veterans, that happens every day, but I thought you were writing about Veteran suicide?  

Karen November 9, 2013 10:26 am (Pacific time)

Tried it for chronic pain and it works. Best for nightime uses @ bed time.

Anonymous November 8, 2013 2:56 pm (Pacific time)

Another great article Dr. Leveque, thank you so much

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