Pubdate: Thu, 05 May 2016
Source: Portland Mercury (OR)
Column: Cannabuzz
Copyright: 2016 The Portland Mercury
Author: Josh Jardine


Cannabis Helps with PTSD, and So Can You

I'M A BIG SUPPORTER of allowing armed forces veterans access to 
cannabis-seeing as how I'm a huge wussy who wouldn't have made it 
through three hours of basic training, much less full-on combat. I 
have enough trouble fighting off a cold.

Recently it seems hell may have frozen over, as the Drug Enforcement 
Administration has authorized a study to see how the use of smoking 
cannabis can treat post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). It's the 
first clinical study on PTSD to use cannabis in its raw, smokeable form.

This is a really big deal, and potentially fantastic news. But consider this:

According to the study's sponsor, the nonprofit Multidisciplinary 
Association for Psychedelic Studies, researchers will now be allowed 
to purchase cannabis from the government's National Institute on Drug 
Abuse. Which is pretty lame as the federally grown weed being 
researched at the University of Mississippi is, to use a clinical 
term, "terrible." So the study will be hampered by the fact that it's 
providing, at best, low-quality cannabis to its test subjects.

We won't see results from the study for a while-as late as 2019. (And 
you thought it took you a long time to finish a sack.)

It remains to be seen if more states will come on board in making 
PTSD a qualifying condition in their medical marijuana programs. Of 
the current 23 states with medical marijuana programs, only five list 
PTSD as a qualifying condition to obtain a medical card.

There are going to be far fewer veterans with us when the study is 
finally released. It's estimated that there are 930,000 US veterans 
living with PTSD. The suicide rate for vets is unacceptably high-50 
percent higher than the civilian rate-and the prescription opiate 
medication overdose rate for vets is nearly twice the national 
average. Between suicides and fatal prescription overdoses, that adds 
up to more than 18,000 dead veterans every year, or an average of 50 a day.

Are your eyes watering yet? Mine are. (But I'm looking manly while 
it's happening.)

More can be done to help our veterans.

Grow for Vets, a stellar national organization with a recently opened 
Portland Chapter, is doing just that. Founded in January 2014, this 
Colorado-based nonprofit is headed up by Roger Martin, an Army 
veteran who credits cannabis with helping him overcome a 10-year 
dependency on prescription drugs like Oxycontin, which he was 
prescribed for pain. Grow for Vets' mission statement says they're 
dedicated to "providing veterans with a safe alternative to deadly 
prescription drugs. We connect veterans with the knowledge and 
resources necessary to obtain or grow their own cannabis for 
treatment of their medical conditions."

They take donations for money, medicine, or time. That middle part 
means they accept donations of cannabis, which will be given to 
veterans, although often in a different form. At giveaways in 
Colorado, they provide vets with no-charge consultations to establish 
what their issues are and what products will be of best use. These 
recommendations inform what type of professionally made and tested 
edibles and tinctures will be provided, along with seeds and 
instructions on how veterans can make their own medicated butter, 
oil, and tinctures. (The Colorado headquarters of Grow for Vets does 
not provide bud, as Martin is anti-smoking; however, raw leaf has 
been given out by other chapters.)

Veterans aren't the only ones suffering from PTSD. Survivors of 
violence, sexual assault, or experiences like a terrorist attack or 
natural disasters can have symptoms. But when it's acquired during 
service for our country, it's hard-earned. Ever watch Platoon? Yeah.

So-that shake you were going to use to make cookies with next 
weekend? It could help a veteran in serious pain. And summer will be 
here soon, Pillsbury dough-belly, so maybe you don't need to whip up 
an extra batch of cookies that will give you even more munchies.

Someone who served could use it. Find more info at
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom