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Federal government approves medical marijuana study for veterans with PTSD

A University of Arizona study, which still requires DEA approval, would examine whether pot can help veterans cope with post-traumatic stress. The green light may clear the way for broader studies.

For years, scientists who have wanted to study how marijuana might be used to treat illness say they have been stymied by resistance from federal drug officials.

The Arizona study had long ago been sanctioned by the Food and Drug Administration, but under federal rules, such experiments can use marijuana only from a single, government-run farm in Mississippi. Researchers say the agency that oversees the farm, the National Institute on Drug Abuse, has long been hostile to proposals aimed at examining possible benefits of the drug. Read more

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Stephen Carter

Stephen Carter is a 30 year old journalist and information technology specialist living in Waco, Texas and serves as Deputy Director for NORML of Waco. He has been working with the cannabis movement since 2009. He founded Texas Cannabis Report in 2013 to bring Texans accurate cannabis related news.

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  1. Hennessey Bounds
    August 6, 2014 at 11:12 am

    I was diagnosed with having PTSD after a car accident in 2007. I was having ‘flashbacks’ and horrible panic attacks. I have never been to war but I lived there when I was a child. My step-father shot at me from the age of four to the age of nine. He also physically abused me and threw me around like a ragdoll. By the age of eleven my right hip had to have three pins placed in it to hold my leg together. I also had knee surgery at that time. Now I need another one.
    The car accident, which involved an 18-wheeler who almost killed me, only made my pre-existing injuries worse. The car was literally wrapped around me and moved one of the pins in my hip. However, the overwhelming desire to want to die superseded any physical problems that I was having. The accident left me with several injuries as well as a concussion. In addition to all the above, I also incurred an everlasting back injury.
    I would later find out through several doctors that I had PTSD since the very young and impressionable age of four. I dealt with it by going to school and fighting. I was the most violent kid anyone ever saw. I was kicked out of every school I went to; on average about one each year. I was one angry and hostile child.
    After my mother finally left my terrible step-father, she began to beat me. I continued my violent ways until she finally threw me into boarding school in Scottsdale, Arizona. It was there that I used marijuana for the first time in my life. I was sixteen years old but had been drinking heavily since the age of thirteen. As soon as that herbal remedy entered my system, it changed who I was. I no longer wanted to fight. I began making friends, had a lot of fun, and even paid attention in class. I didn’t even care or notice that I was making good grades because that was never a factor to my mother while I was growing up. But somehow I managed to graduate number 7 out of 78 students from that school.
    During those two years of boarding school, throughout my college days and ten years into my career (which happened to be in law enforcement) I used marijuana on a daily basis and I functioned very well, had a great life and actually liked who I was. Everything for me was terrific. I was almost happy and able to put my child abuse behind me.
    But then came that stupid 18-wheeler and those damn doctors that have had me on pills for the last seven years (5 Xanax, 2 hydrocodone, 3 Ativan, plenty of valium and somas). These pills are literally killing me. And with the PTSD I did have a few suicide attempts in there somewhere. I finally quit my job in 2010 because I couldn’t handle the panic attacks anymore and to put it bluntly, I just wanted to die. I never should have left marijuana behind, but unfortunately I did. It was the worst decision I ever made.
    What is even worse is that I cannot stop seeing my two doctors and stop taking the pills and use the one and only substance that would help me because I am on disability now (which is NOT tax payer money). So I have every reason in the world to be afraid of using an illegal substance at this time in my life. I would lose everything, and I have already done that.
    The bottom line is that pills kill people every day and will eventually be the end of me. But with the marijuana, I could stop using all of those life-threatening pills. I don’t have to mention that marijuana has never killed anyone. It does not lead to other crimes nor should it have ever been put in the same classification as heroin!
    In working as a Dallas Probation Officer for a total of fourteen years, I know the law, DA’s, ATF and DEA Agents and police officers very well. They all say the same thing; “We are pissing in the wind when it comes to fighting the war on drugs!” Our southern government is corrupt and I have known that since I began my degree in criminal justice. The corruption, or should I say ‘kick-backs’, has to stop.
    On 3/18/14 I decided to ‘guinea pig’ myself for seven days. I went off of all the medication and bought myself some marijuana! Eureka! I used the marijuana in those seven days to help with the withdrawls from the pills, but mainly to see if it would help me with all of my problems. It had been years since I had used marijuana, or at least enough of it to make a difference. I got a good deal from an old friend and went home to begin my experiment on myself.
    Of course the first few days were complete hell, but at least I didn’t have go to the hospital or even stay in bed. I write now so I wrote about a 270 page story about my experience. This is the very, very short version. The back pain was complete gone within four days. I started sleeping better than I did when I was taking three Ativan at night. I also noticed that I didn’t have one single panic attack in that whole week. While I take four to five Xanax per day, I still have attacks. I was also more able to get out and do things, like live my life!
    Going ‘cold turkey’ off of all those drugs should have put me in the hospital, especially the Xanax. It is extremely dangerous to stop using. But I did it. It hurt but it was the marijuana that got me through it. I know this because I have stopped the pills before, to prove to myself that I can. It is comparable to having the flu, times ten. But with the weed, I didn’t even stay in bed. I wrote, too much.
    So the conclusion to my experiment was clear, the marijuana alleviated all of the symptoms that I am taking these life-threatening medications for. So what is really going on here? I did more research and found so many others just like me. We want off of these damn pills and to be allowed to smoke a God given herb as a healthier alternative. Some of these people I read about had PTSD, some had pain, others had depression and/or insomnia. Most of these frustrated people are in the southern states.
    And I haven’t even touched on what cannabis does to help cancer patients, those with seizures, autistic people… The list goes on forever. It is clear to me now that doctors want to keep you on pills, not only to keep you coming back to see them but also because they know that the pills will eventually cause internal damage and that is only more money in their pockets. And I am not afraid to say that our government is corrupt, because it is. I learned this in getting my degree, my federal internship and fourteen long years in the probation department.

    I have absolutely no interest whatsoever in making any money from the book that I wrote. The full story and what all I found was compelling and surprised even myself. I mainly want to stop the suicide rates that are now up to 22 per day. And that is just what is reported by the VA amongst the PTSD victims. How many have not been diagnosed? How many men out there refuse to except that something is wrong with them? I’m a girl and it took me two damn years to face what the doctors were telling me. I used to be strong and resilient. It will all pass, I told myself. Well it doesn’t completely go away but life does get better.
    So in short, I want to help others out there who can relate to my story in any way. In the last four years of my career, I had the mental health caseload. So I love helping and counseling people. If you have no one to talk to, find me on Twitter, under my name, email me directly from there and I will talk to you. I would be more than happy to. I know that darkness and that anger you cannot explain. I know how it feels to have your family turn against you because they do not understand PTSD. If I could help save just one person, then my life in hell would have all been worth it.
    After the seven day experiment, I stopped the marijuana use. I had to. I live in a bizarre place where it’s illegal. Unfortunately I am back on the pills. The back pain has returned along with the panic attacks and the stomach pain from using the pills. All pills have side effects. Pills kill! Marijuana makes you thirsty.
    My doctors and the State of Texas are letting me slowly die and they know it. It is for their personal gain. I do not want to have to move to another state. I don’t think I should have to. They are the ones who need to move. That ‘good ole boy/hand me down’ mentality has to go. It is simply criminal to KEEP pot illegal.
    When the Capitol recently shot down the bill for veterans who just wanted to use marijuana for medicinal purposes, I was appalled, and just plain pissed. Now I know the truth. I see it so clearly. We have to change our government. I know my body, heart and soul. They can’t all be wrong. All I need is a few joints a day and I can flush the harmful pills I am now taking.
    We have to stop the senseless suicide rates, the people who are becoming addicted to pills and/or alcohol and ruining their lives and our kids who are killing themselves on stupid stuff. I am livid and feel compelled to do my part to stop this insanity.