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Mon Dec 12, 2011, 04:02 AM

Federal agency blocks FDA-approved marijuana research for veterans

(from Oct. 2011)


The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has blocked a pilot study to examine the benefits of marijuana for veterans with treatment-resistant post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

...“Hundreds of veterans in medical marijuana states already report using marijuana to control their PTSD symptoms,” MAPS said in a statement. “The growing number of service members returning from Iraq and Afghanistan with combat-related trauma combined with large numbers of treatment-resistant veterans highlights the pressing need for research into additional treatments for PTSD.”

Recently, a study conducted by Haifa University in Israel found that rats which were treated with marijuana within 24 hours of a traumatic experience successfully avoided any symptoms of PTSD.

The Drug Enforcement Administration has denied researchers requests to obtain licenses to grow marijuana, claiming that the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) — overseen by the HHS — can be the only one to supply marijuana for Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-regulated research. NIDA’s monopoly on the supply of marijuana for research means the study has no way of moving forward, even though it was approved by the FDA.

MAPS and a law firm that represents pharmaceutical-industry clients has offered pro bono representation to MAPS to challenge the NIDA monoply.

DEA faces federal lawsuit for blocking cannabis research:


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Reply Federal agency blocks FDA-approved marijuana research for veterans (Original post)
RainDog Dec 2011 OP
RainDog Dec 2011 #1
DreamSmoker Dec 2011 #2
RainDog Dec 2011 #3

Response to RainDog (Original post)

Sat Dec 17, 2011, 03:59 AM

1. Prohibition prevents research into the use of cannabis for PTSD in vets

Marijuana may help PTSD. Why won’t the government find out for sure?

Antidepressants or antipsychotic medications are among the most common medications to treat post-traumatic stress disorder and the insomnia, anger, nightmares and anxiety that often come with it.

Unfortunately, they’re not guaranteed to be much help.

But there is a drug that has been shown to alleviate the symptoms of PTSD. Unfortunately, Veterans Affairs doctors can’t recommend it, and the federal government won’t allow research to proceed that could prove its effectiveness. What’s the drug? Marijuana.

Sixteen states and the District of Columbia have medical marijuana laws on the books, but we are still a long way from general acceptance of the drug as a medicine. If we’re serious about seeking an effective remedy for post-traumatic stress, and serving the hundreds of thousands of veterans with the disorder, this needs to change. It’s not a guaranteed solution, but sufficient evidence exists to show that it’s a treatment that needs to be explored further.

in spite of the research that has been carried out thus far.

Marijuana study of traumatized veterans stuck in regulatory limbo

In April, the Food and Drug Administration approved a first-of-its kind study to test whether marijuana can ease the nightmares, insomnia, anxiety and flashbacks common in combat veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder.

But now another branch of the federal government has stymied the study. The Health and Human Services Department is refusing to sell government-grown marijuana to the nonprofit group proposing the research, the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies.

“Their goal at higher levels, I think, is to block the study,” said Doblin, who for 25 years has been jumping through regulatory hoops to launch human studies of marijuana, LSD and MDMA, known as ecstasy, which are all illegal.

The HHS official in charge of the review, Sarah A. Wattenberg, declined to answer questions when reached by phone. Tara Broido, a spokeswoman for the agency, wrote in an e-mail that “the production and distribution of marijuana for clinical research is carefully restricted under a number of federal laws and international commitments.”

From the Journal of Neurscience:

Despite the efficacy of behavior therapy for human anxiety disorders, extinction-like treatments require repeated cue exposures and are vulnerable to reversal by a number of environmental factors, particularly stress. The endocannabinoid system has recently emerged as important in the regulation of extinction learning and in the regulation of the hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal axis.

[a href="http://healthland.time.com/2009/11/04/dude-wheres-my-trauma-marijuana-could-treat-ptsd/#ixzz0uKHhc5wP"]Time Magazine[/a] sums up the research this way:

(the) marijuana-like compound had made extreme stress more like ordinary stress—and this could also be seen in terms of reductions in a key stress hormone in their brains.

Importantly, it didn't matter if the rats were given the drug before or after they experienced the stress. This suggests that this drug might work either before or after someone has suffered a traumatic event. It also shows that the drug doesn't erase memory—instead, it softens it and makes traumatic memory more like ordinary memory.

From Dr. Tod Mikuriya's early work:

Easement Effects of Cannabis
In treating PTSD, cannabis provides control and amelioration of chronic stressors without adverse side effects. Mainstream medicine treats PTSD symptoms such as hyperalertness, insomnia, and nightmares with an array of SSRI and tricyclic anti-depressants, sedatives, analgesics, muscle relaxants, etc., all of which provide inadequate relief and have side effects that soon become problematic. Sedatives, both prescribed and over-the-counter, when used chronically, commonly cause hangovers, dullness, sedation, constipation, weight gain, and depression. See chart at right.
Cannabis is a unique psychotropic immunomodulator which can best be categorized as an “easement.” Modulating the overwhelming flood of negative affect in PTSD is analogous to the release of specific tension, a process of “unclenching” or release. As when a physical spasm is relieved, there is a perception of “wholeness” or integration of the afflicted system with the self. For some, this perceptual perspective is changed in other ways such as distancing (separating the reaction from the stimulus, which can involve either lessening the reaction, as with modulation, or repressing/suppressing the memory; walling it off; forgetting).
The modulation of emotional response relieves the flooding of negative affect. The skeletal and smooth muscle relaxation decreases the sympathetic nervous reactivity and kindling component of agitation. Fight/flight responses and anger symptoms are significantly ameliorated. The fear of loss of control diminishes as episodes of agitation and feeling overwhelmed are lessened. Experiences of control then come to prevail. Thinking is freed from attachment to the past and permitted to fix on the present and future. Instead of being transfixed by nightmares, the sufferer is freed to realize dreams.

Based on both safety and efficacy, cannabis should be considered first in the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder. As part of a restorative program with exercise, diet, and psychotherapy, it should be substituted for “mainstream” anti-depressants, sedatives, muscle relaxants, tricyclics, etc.

Canadian vet overcomes addiction by using cannabis for PTSD

Homeless, penniless and addicted to crack cocaine, Hillier slept behind a community centre at the intersection of Hastings and Main, the notorious epicentre of the city's drug trade.

Three years earlier, Hillier was in the midst of a successful military career, serving his country as an air force firefighter aboard HMCS Preserver in the Middle East in the months after the 9/11 strikes on the U.S.

His tour with Operation Apollo took him to the Gulf of Oman, the Arabian Sea and the Persian Gulf. But the constant stress of working in a theatre of war left him with post-traumatic stress disorder, a condition he believes was worsened by conventional pharmaceuticals prescribed by military doctors.

Today, the Mississauga, Ont., native is off the streets and clean because of a treatment that, he says, few in the Canadian military like to discuss: medical marijuana.

via NPR:

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.

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.

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.

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.

Here's one vet's experience:


Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) results from an overwhelming assault on the mind and emotions involving a threat of death or serious injury or damage to one’s physical integrity. The cause may be a natural disaster, an accident or a human action. People who suffer from this disorder are often edgy, irritable, easily startled, and constantly on guard. They often involuntarily re-experience the traumatic event in the form of memories, nightmares, and flashbacks. They frequently appear to have a need to avoid feelings and thoughts reminiscent of the trauma. They sufferer from emotional numbing which often causes demoralization and isolation.

My name is Michael McKenna. I’m 46 years old, and I’ve been using marijuana on and off since 1970. I’ve gone without it for long periods, but I use it today and probably will for the rest of my life. I have no choice. I went to Vietnam right after my 18th birthday. When I had been there for two weeks, our company lost the first men that I knew. Back at base camp, I sat in the dark by myself wondering what the hell had happened. I asked myself where these souls went, and was there a heaven for men who died the way they did. As I stared into the darkness I heard a voice behind me say "Man, you shouldn’t be out here by yourself thinking about this shit or you’ll go nuts." I couldn’t look him in the face and didn’t even look up for fear that he would see the tears in my eyes. He told me I needed to get drunk to forget it and go on, or I would die there. I told him I didn’t drink, and he said he would be right back. When he returned he had a big joint and asked if I had tried pot before. I told him that I had, a couple of times. He said this shit was about 100 times stronger than anything in the States and I should only smoke a little. Then he left.

That night alone in the dark, I smoked the whole thing, and I’ve never regretted it. He had given me my mental survival tool. It did not make me forget, just allowed me to digest the pain and fear peacefully and respectfully with dignity. I’m sure you’ve heard before that over there we had Jesus freaks, straights, potheads, and diesel freaks (drinkers). While the diesel freaks made up the majority, pot smoking became more and more open. The straights became potheads by the drove.

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Response to RainDog (Original post)

Tue Dec 20, 2011, 05:41 PM

2. Keep up the good work...

Thanks to you for theses links..
I will follow too..
This is a War on Americans and I too will post the Facts till the Cows finally come Home...

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Response to DreamSmoker (Reply #2)

Wed Dec 21, 2011, 02:39 AM

3. thanks, friend. you too

information is the best weapon in this fight.

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