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Sep-22-2012 11:25printcomments

Medical Marijuana Prevents PTSD Suicides!

Portland VA confronts PTSD therapy failures?!?

Marijuana and PTSD
Special thanks to Steve Elliott and our friends at tokeofthetown.com

(PORTLAND, OR) - This article about the excessive number of U.S. military suicides has 564 Facebook 'Likes' which makes it the most viewed article I've written about this important topic via that social network. Due to the pressing nature of this subject, I have written many articles about PTSD and suicide which are available at this link (Leveque PTSD Suicide)

PTSD therapy failures and suicides, even with VA treatment, are a national disgrace as reported by The Oregonian Newspaper September 13th 2012, about National Suicide Prevention Month. Military veterans are the main focus whose suicides far outnumber those who are not military veterans.

I note that about 150 VA (mental) Health Workers attended the conference, but ill bet that not one person represented the veterans or veteran advocacy organizations. It seems the conference was to talk about the ‘CRISIS’ and get it in headlines, but not to do much about it.

The VA considers that military suicides are caused by PTSD which they say is caused by depression which isn’t factual. The true causes are anguish and psychological frustration which are the main parts of military life. Also contributing are chronic severe pain, severe PTSD, panic attacks, nightmares, insomnia all working together to make a devilish mush of the PTSD veterans brain.

The medicinal therapy for PTSD and suicides includes a devils workshop of misused and dangerous or ineffective drugs. There are the 20 or so antidepressants which are frequently useless and cause suicides themselves. The anxiolytics, such as Valium, rarely work and cause severe addiction. The anticonvulsants usually used for epilepsy cause severe depression. Atypical Antipsychotics are just that. I don't think many PTSD vets are psychotic but after VA mistreatment I can see they would get that way.

One of the weirdest VA treatments for PTSD are the Morphine-like drugs such as Oxycontin, Vicodin (Hydrocodone), and Morphine itself. All of these are called Narcotics because they cause narcosis or sleep. This type of therapy has little to do with helping PTSD vets but may contribute to suicides. All of the medications named above can and do cause suicides or accidental overdoses. Oxycontin is the worst with at least 4000 known deaths.

Because of the implication that PTSD is caused by depression and the very heavy use of antidepressants, I posted an article, Marijuana Vs. Anti-Depressants for PTSD - Marijuana Wins Hands Down. I reviewed the subject February 13th 2009. I got 36 comments, mostly severely condemning VA treatment and strongly praising the use of Cannabis/Marijuana instead.


One article I wrote, Combat Troops Zombification , quoted another source about a Senior Airman who at his autopsy it was found his blood contained 8 depressant drugs including antidepressants, sedatives, sleeping pills, and two Morphine – like pain killers. The New York Times article stated “the military medical system is awash with prescription drugs and one-third of troops are on heavy medications and were involved in 162 suicides and 101 accidental overdoses.”

I had about 1000 military veteran PTSD victims successfully treated with Cannabis/Marijuana. At the end of my article I will post several of the 36 positive comments I received.

Read the original article and comments from the February 13th 2009 article: Marijuana Vs. Anti-Depressants for PTSD - Marijuana Wins Hands Down There are 7 pages of comments, beginning with these:

COMMENTS:

“Hey everyone I'm super late to this but I just recently got out of the Marine Corps as a 24 year old combat veteran of both Iraq and Afghanistan I have a crushed disk in my back and my left shoulder is destroyed to the point of frozen shoulder I also suffered a TBI and have been prescribed about every medicing known to man to combat this I have recently started to use marijuana for medication and I have substituted every medicine that has been prescribed. I am now going to school full time and working full time. Cannabis has done this for me and I feel the VA and the fda needs to jump on board seriously it has to be about money what is the problem. Anyways, that’s my rant proud supporter of holistic medicine.” - Mike April 2, 2011

“It so saddens me that our government is not willing to help the thousands of suffering vets by allowing medical mj use!!! I am an army wife who self medicates for carpal tunnel. I use this instead of the vicodin. It helps me sleep at night and helps with nerve pain. My husband spent 6 months in Ramadi in 2007 and came back with PTSD, TBI and a crushed disk. His is taking prozak and ambient but I and he are not seeing much of a difference. I wish he was able to self medicate as well. I am tired of the screaming and night sweats!! God help us that our government will give these vets some relief!!” - Hopeful Army Wife November 18, 2010

“I am an Iraq war Vet. I can tell you first hand that the VA is the biggest pill pushers that exist. I have done both routes, medical marijuana and pharmaceuticals, and mari j wins hands down. I have PTSD as well as several injures including spinal damage in the neck with unbearable pain and spasms than are ever present. My pain is so unbearable at times it gives me nausea. Not only are the 6 different meds I take daily far more toxic than cannabis intake, they are seriously less effective in pain relief and mood stabilization. I have been on Ambien for sleep, recommended for use from 7-10 days, for 3 years now and have to take other sleep aids in conjunction with it. I am not the only Vet that has been on sleep meds for years on end! I have personally had a VA psychiatrist agree with, and admit off record, that cannabis is by far less toxic than the mountain of pills I have to take every day. Even the stronges muscle relaxers barely touch my pain from the spasms. I unfortunately live in Arizona, where they are about to pass the worst medical marijuana policy I have ever heard of! It will only be approved for terminal Cancer and HIV. I am currently licensed in the state of California for med mari-j, but am seriously considering moving to New Mexico. Thanks be to the voters of NM for leading the way on the use of cannabis for treatment of PTSD. I know I am not alone in the realization that it is the very best medicine known to date to alleviate the symptoms of PTSD most effectively.” - Crump Juice, AZ September 5, 2010

The best comment of them all:

“I'm an Iraq war vet and I have PTSD and hearing loss. Before I got help I was a mess. Flipped out all of the time, turned into an alcoholic, had non stop memories replaying in my head, fealt like I was being followed, and was severely depressed. Guess the wake up call was when I woke up in the VA phych ward. Guess I had a drunken flash back and almost took my life. Thank God my wife helped me by taking me in. I’m on Seroquel and Celexa now. It does help, but they never did help all the way with the flashbacks. I now have a medical marijuana card and this is the best I have been since before the war. I work hard, can tolerate people, and take care of my family well now. For those that think marijuana use is bad you should seriously do a little more research.” - Chris August 14, 2010

“I am a 33 year old veteran USMC first 6 months after 9-11, I get out in 2004, and the world had changed for the insane, I will say that Marijuana has been a life changing drug, nothing the VA gives me works for very long, and then they just up your dosage, the side effects are horrible, I just went down there and got a solid copy of everything they got on file for me. I have told the VA that I use marijuana but everytime I say anything they leap to the extreme and say that I am abusing it, and now I need therapy, OMFG these people are stupid, get with the NOW and learn something!!! Marijuana works for PTSD!!! Its helps in the recovery and through VA therapy, They don’t need to know that you use, its not there business, if it helps, use it!!!! DNW” -Anonymous February 15, 2012

__________________________________

Got a question or comment for Dr. Leveque?
Email him:
Newsroom@Salem-News.com

More information on the history of Dr. Leveque can be found in his book, General Patton's Dogface Soldier of WWII about his own experiences "from a foxhole".
Order the book by mail by following this link: Dogface Soldier

If you are a World War II history buff, you don't want to miss it.

Watch for more streaming video question and answer segments about medical marijuana with Bonnie King and Dr. Phil Leveque.

Click on this link for other articles and video segments about PTSD and medical marijuana on Salem-News.com:
Dr. Leveque INTERVIEWS & ARTICLES




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John Denton October 17, 2012 7:14 pm (Pacific time)

This is important work. As a VA patient with an Oregon card I deal with a system that's gradually (10/12) showing acceptance of cannabis' use, particularly when they can avoid the whole narcotics dance when a card holder chooses to stay off Vicodin to instead use his own home grown pain meds, such as I have done following a rough surgery. From a psychological perspective, if one for example ingests cannabis for positive reasons and not guilt ridden rebellious ones, then anxieties can be calmed. When society therefore begins to show respect for its healing properties, then we will see smoother social and self adjustments around its uses, including the alleviation of depressed feelings following combat conditions. Weed settles you in your body, it feels good, and it helps you let go, is the easiest way to explain it, although it has to be used in a safe, supportive environment, and around stable, positively thinking people.


Shelving September 28, 2012 10:20 am (Pacific time)

Great article once again Dr. Leveque


Dark Night of the Soul September 24, 2012 1:28 am (Pacific time)

As long as the VA continues paying bogus unqualified unlicensed "therapists" like George Amiotte, they will continue to have failure in the treatment of PTSD. Frankly, I hate to see good tax $$ going to quacks.


Anonymous September 23, 2012 4:29 pm (Pacific time)

I agree with anon at 8:59 am.


Anonymous September 23, 2012 8:59 am (Pacific time)

Phil I have made an extensive review of the medical literature and never can find anything to contradict what you say, thank you for your eternal service to this nation.


M. Dennis Paul, Ph.D. September 22, 2012 7:53 pm (Pacific time)

A question for Dr. Leveque... In your experience and opinion, would you say that the primary presentation of PTSD in military personnel is rooted in a) Battlefield dissociative disorder b)Reintegration dissociative disorder c) Trauma induced dissociative disorder d)a combination of any or all of the above e) None of the above. Also, in your experience, how effective is marijuana in reintegrating personality divisions (dissociative,panic,chemical, r/o psychosis)? Keep up the good works...please!

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