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POT OF WAR! Government Approves Study to Give
 Medical Cannabis to Veterans With PTSD




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    Marijuana Cannabis May Be Studied for US Combat Disorder



Government Approves Study to Give Medical Cannabis to Veterans With Ptsd

Largely banned since 1940, the field of medical-cannabis research in
the United States is celebrating a symbolic sign of acceptance this
month: the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s approval of a study
that gives pot to veterans suffering chronic post-traumatic stress

Last month, Dr. Rick Doblin, executive director of the nonprofit
Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies in Santa Cruz,
said the FDA approved his group’s protocol for research on the
effects of marijuana on persistent post-traumatic stress disorder
symptoms. According to the study plan, pot may relieve persistent
PTSD symptoms by interacting with the brain’s endocannabinoid system.

Post-traumatic stress is a severe anxiety disorder that may appear
after psychologically traumatic events. Military veterans suffering
from PTSD will often report flashbacks, nightmares, anger,
hypervigilance and avoidance of stimuli associated with the trauma.
Symptoms last longer than a month and lead to "clinically
significant distress and impairment."

Battle-damaged war veterans often self-medicate with pot to treat
symptoms like insomnia, anxiety and depression, clinicians have
found. The new study seeks to quantify the efficacy of those

Cannabis "helps people not have nightmares," Doblin explained. "They
sleep better. That’s one of the main reasons why people use it.

"Another reason is it focuses people’s attention on the here and now.
It moves them a little ways out of being burdened by the past."

The FDA approval represents a historic landmark in cannabis research,
Doblin said. It’s the first FDA-approved study in at least 30 years
that would give cannabis to patients for home use. As a sign of the
FDA’s hesitance, Doblin’s group had to assure the FDA that the
veterans in the study would not go out and sell their weed on the
street corner.

He also was surprised that the FDA approved the study and did not
think the National Institute on Drug Abuse had the appropriate
cannabidiol-rich pot, which would force the FDA to reject it. NIDA
controls the one federally legal pot farm in the nation, which is
based in Mississippi and provides government-grown pot to a handful
of federal patients, as well as researchers approved by the Drug
Enforcement Administration.

Yet sill, if history is any guide, NIDA will ultimately block the
FDA-approved study from ever happening, said Doblin. NIDA must
approve all research on pot, and its political goal is to ensure it
never becomes legal, he said. NIDA states on its website that it
believes smoked marijuana is not a medicine, despite more than 3,000
years of recorded medicinal use.

Doblin said NIDA has repeatedly denied approval of his group’s
efforts to clinically study the use of cannabis to treat AIDS wasting
and migraines-despite repeated FDA approvals. He said the FDA is
interested in pursuing cannabis science, but NIDA is not.

"I would like there to be praise for the FDA; they’re not doing
anything unusual," he said. "But NIDA, the drug czar’s office and
the DEA have bought into prohibition, and prohibition doesn’t make
sense if you put science first.

"The Obama administration has talked a big game about how science
should not be impeded by politics," Doblin continued. "He has
disappointed us in major ways when it comes to drug-related science."

But if NIDA rejects the newly approved study, it will be yet another
example of the government getting in the way of helping our troops,
Doblin said.

"There are a large number of people for whom this would work."

Pubdate: Thu, 19 May 2011
Source: Sacramento News & Review (CA)
Copyright: 2011 Chico Community Publishing, Inc.
Author: David Downs

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