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Ptsd May Join Oregon Medical Marijuana List.

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PTSD May Join Oregon Medical Marijuana List Posted by CN Staff on February 08, 2013 at 05:42:51 PT

By Saul Hubbard, The Register-Guard

Source: Register-Guard


medical.gif Salem -- Proponents turned out in force Thursday to urge lawmakers to approve a bill that would allow individuals diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder to become eligible for Oregon’s medical marijuana program.


At the first public hearing of Senate Bill 281, military veterans, medical professionals and others testified that marijuana can help alleviate some of the symptoms of PTSD: extreme anxiety, recurring nightmares, sleeping difficulties and suicidal tendencies. In many cases, they said, marijuana is much more effective than anti-depressants and other more traditional medications prescribed for PTSD.


Under current policy, medical marijuana cards can only be issued to individuals with Alzheimer’s, cancer, glaucoma and AIDS, as well as severe pain, severe nausea, seizures and persistent muscle spasms.

No one spoke up against the bill Wednesday, but some lawmakers have traditionally opposed expanding the list of conditions for which medical marijuana is made available. In the case of PTSD, critics point to the fact that there have been no controlled studies in the United States that demonstrate the substance’s effectiveness in tackling the condition’s symptoms.


Doctors and psychiatrists — some of whom testified by phone from Phoenix, Boston, Albuquerque, N.M., and Berkeley, Calif. — argued that the federal government, which hasn’t legally recognized marijuana as medicine, has stopped marijuana-related PTSD studies from moving forward over the past decade.


Bryan Krumm — a psychiatric nurse practitioner from New Mexico, one of three states with medical marijuana programs that allow the substance to be prescribed to individuals with PTSD — said he manages close to a 1,000 patients with the condition.


“Cannabis is proving to be the safest and most effective medication available,” he said. “The only FDA-approved medications for PTSD right now are Paxil and Zoloft. These are highly ineffective and they often lead to worsening depression and anxiety and, in some cases, even suicidality.”


Jose Garza, a 31-year-old military veteran from Bend, was one of several individuals with PTSD who testified about the change marijuana had made in his life. He said the condition creates individuals who are “ticking time bombs.”


“Many will turn to substance abuse: they will cling to narcotic pain killers, alcohol, cocaine and meth,” he said. “Many will begin a lifelong downward spiral they will never recover from.”


Garza said he himself was on that path until “the simple act of smoking a plant” helped him to cope by alleviating his anxiety and fears.

“I’m not a hippie, I’m not a stoner, I’m not a criminal,” he said. “I’m a United States veteran and this is what has saved my life.”


Leland Berger, a Portland attorney representing advocacy group Compassionate Oregon, said that while much of the science around marijuana and PTSD is anecdotal, “sometimes in evaluating medical efficacy of things, people look at anecdotal evidence.”

Brian Michaels, a Eugene attorney, said that everyone “Republican, Democrat, pro-war, anti-war” claims to support America’s troops.


“If we support our troops, that’s what we do. … We say to them, ‘We support you and this is how we’re going to do it,’ ” he said. “We recognize that you need (marijuana) to survive after what you did for us.”

Source: Register-Guard, The (OR)

Author: Saul Hubbard, The Register-Guard

Published: February 8, 2013

Copyright: 2013 The Register-Guard

Contact: rgletters@guardnet.com

Website: http://www.registerguard.com/

URL: http://drugsense.org/url/WGXDsYXh

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