Thursday, May 19, 2011

FDA To Study Cannabis For PTSD

The video is not directly applicable to the subject at hand. It does feature one of the premier researchers in the field, Dr. Raphael Mechoulam, who's work I discussed in a 2006 article PTSD and the Endocannabinoid System.

So what about the FDA?
PTSD is an extremely difficult medical condition to treat, and it currently effects around 7.8 percent of Americans. It is caused by exposure to dangerous and highly stressful situations, which can result in lasting symptoms that include disturbing flashbacks, distressful emotions, panic attacks, and nightmares.

On April 28th the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) accepted MAPS' protocol design for their study of cannabis as a treatment for symptoms of PTSD in war veterans. This approval from the FDA represents another important step forward in PTSD research, although there is still a major hurdle to overcome before the research can actually begin. The FDA stated that MAPS’ current protocol successfully addresses all of their concerns, as long as the researchers can obtain cannabis for the study.
There is one slight problem. They have to get the marijuana from the government. And the government doesn't like to give pot to researchers who might undermine the drug war. There is a lot of money and a lot of jobs riding on the continuation of the drug war.

There is an interesting statistic in the above article excerpt. The statistic? About 7.8% of all Americans have PTSD. What is 7.8% of 310 million? About 24 million. That is right in line with government estimates that there are 30 million regular pot users in America. As I have been saying for years. The drug war is how we in America punish the traumatized. Like war veterans.
But the pot-versus-Post Traumatic Stress Disorder study is not happening yet.

According to California-based MAPS, the notoriously finicky National Institute on Drug Abuse -- apparently the only place to get legal weed for a federally approved study -- has to agree to sell some pot to researchers.

Sounds to us like MAPS isn't optimistic. It calls NIDA "a very different agency with explicitly political motivations and a monopoly on marijuana for research."

The study would ponder whether cannabis "can help reduce PTSD symptoms in fifty veterans with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)."
There is anecdotal evidence from Omaha in the efficacy of pot for PTSD.
The focus, they say, is marijuana's medical abilities and why anyone who's sick should be free to use it.

"I don't need to medicate with pharmaceutical drugs that make me feel nauseous or sick. It alleviates all of my symptoms of PTSD," says Diana Wulf.
I guess I should explain how we got tens of millions of pot users when we only have a few million veterans of combat. Child abuse.

That is not the only drug used to treat PTSD according to Oprah Magazine MDMA more commonly known by its street name Ecstasy can also be useful.
On a February day in 2005, Sarah is reclining on a futon beneath a skylight, with Michael and Ann Mithoefer seated on either side of her. A half-hour earlier, Sarah swallowed a yellow capsule containing 125 milligrams of MDMA, and relaxing instrumental music plays softly as she waits, eyes closed, for the drug to take hold. The first signs are ripples of nausea—she thinks she might throw up, yet she also senses her body relaxing. The usual ringing in her ears vanishes. "That constant hyperawareness of my environment—it was receding," she says now.

At this point, she heard "the grinding of a pen." The sound of the nib bearing down on the page was magnified, "like it was hurting the paper, beating and pounding on it," Sarah recalls. In the alternate reality of MDMA, she says, "I thought Michael was drawing circles around me, making fun of me, laughing at me. I felt the anger rising in my body. I opened my eyes and—he was just sitting there, taking notes."

It was an epiphany. "That's the moment when I discovered that my perception and reality were not always the same," Sarah recalls. She'd assumed that her caretaker was jeering at her, that she was an object of scorn and derision—a painful conditioned response imprinted by an abusive childhood. Sarah always had an intellectual grasp of how her early years had shaped her, "but this was physiological," she recalls. "That's when I knew I had to repair the connections, the chemicals that had gotten all screwed up when I was a kid."
So what about all the horror stories we hear about long term MDMA use? Bunk according to a study funded by one agency of our very own government.
New research suggests that the drug Ecstasy -- used on its own -- does not have residual effects on brain performance, according to a study published this week in the journal Addiction.

The Santa Cruz-based Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies
[MAPS -ed] contributed $15,000 for an initial 2004 study on Ecstasy use. That work led to a $1.8 million grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse that was spearheaded by John Halpern of Harvard Medical School.

The Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies has been conducting research on potential use of Ecstasy to treat post-traumatic stress disorder, and researchers said the new study likely would prompt more research and understanding of the drug.
So will we ever treat drugs rationally? Not as long as there is so much money in it. There are tens of billions maybe hundreds of billions to be made from exploiting the traumatized. Best yet we have convinced most of them and the vast majority of Americans that it is their own fault. Drugs are bad don't you know? Well I don't know it. What i know is that some people chronically take pain relievers for chronic pain. A pain in the brain so there are rarely any wounds to validate the pain. So we don't have armies of traumatized people in America. We have dirty drug fiends who deserve what ever punishments that can be meted out to them.

Here is one doctors take on all that.
No recruit ever considered that basic training would be easy, and in a time of war, they quickly discover that combat is a far cry from Hollywood’s portrayal. Reality is what it is. Dr. Phil Leveque knows this to be true. He served in the US Army and lived through World War II- and bears the scars within to this day.

“We were psychologically and physically stretched beyond normal limits and many recruits died. A bunch more were permanently psychologically damaged and the end result was PTSD even during training.”

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a severe anxiety disorder which can occur after witnessing or experiencing even one traumatic event, especially when it involves injury or death, or the threat thereof, so being in a war takes that trauma to new levels. It is important to note that PTSD can be, and usually is, a long term/lifetime problem.

A recent report estimated that up to 40% of the Middle East veterans would be victims of combination of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI).

Maybe more.

As a regular general practice physician and later as a marijuana doctor, Dr. Leveque saw the devastating results of the effects on veterans for generations.

Frequently, during the post-trauma time, with no better idea at hand, Dr. Leveque says that many PTSD patients discover that alcohol “drowns ones sorrows”.

Also during this post-trauma time, some caregiver will say to himself,”let’s treat this patient’s PTSD” and here come a mélange of medications. The various and numerous treatments leave very much to be desired; in fact their treatments have far more failures than successes.

“Those same pseudo-doctors and paper-pushers decry the use of marijuana,” says Dr. Leveque. “The veterans use it preferentially, to the zombifying and/or addicting drugs prescribed wholesale by those ’caregivers’, who then blame the victim for using a medication which works: Marijuana.” Dr. Leveque was convinced that there was a better way. And in the state of Oregon, it was so.

“I was asked by a healthcare professional at the Portland VA Hospital if I would help PTSD Veteran Victims to get permits to use legalized medical marijuana. I already had some Veteran patients from WWII, Korea and Vietnam, so I obliged.

“Within two weeks I had more than 50 Nam Vets requesting my help. As part of their medical history I asked what previous medicines they had been given or prescribed.

“There were two main types: strong pain killers (like Oxycontin, Morphine and every related pain killer), and anti-depressants.

“I was flabbergasted to read the anti-depressant list of many patients; Paxil, Zoloft, Prozac, Lexapro, on through the whole list of about 12; but nothing shocked me like the dangers they admit to! The US Food & Drug Administration (FDA) says they can cause very bad adverse side effects including anxiety, depression, addiction, severe withdrawal, homicidal rage and suicide.”

It makes one wonder why they should be given to a psychologically fragile PTSD patient.
I wrote an article on why the pharmaceutical companies might be anti-pot back in 2002 in my article Addiction or Self Medication? In it I said:
It turns out that anxiety disorders are the most common mental health problem in the United States. They are worth $46 billion a year to the pharmaceutical industry. You don't suppose this fact has any thing to do with the pharmaceutical industries being in the forefront of the Drug Free America campaign do you? Of course not. They are just trying to keep you from being addicted to natural products at the cost of 1/10th of a cent per dose when they are more than willing to sell you an FDA and doctor approved, pharmacy sold product that will do the job for a dollar a dose. They have only your best interests at heart. Just ask their accountants.
I have been looking around and what do you know? The above video might be relevant after all according to this article on the forthcoming MAPS study.
The study also calls for veterans to smoke weed with differing levels of active cannabinoids THC and CBD to determine if one, the other, or a balance of both proves more effective. Veterans will also either smoke or vaporize the plant to better test effects from different administrations of the drug.

Doblin said he was surprised that the FDA approved the study. He did not think the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) had the appropriate CBD-rich pot for the study, and that 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.

But 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 their political goal is to ensure it never becomes legal, he said. NIDA states on its web site that it believes smoked marijuana is not a medicine, despite more than three thousand years of recorded medicinal use.
We have a government that is actively working against the American people and for the cartels - legal and illegal. So what else is new?

What can be done about all this? Gary Johnson for President. And guess what? Willie Nelson endorses Johnson. I think that speaks for itself. But how about a few words from the article?
Ron Paul has classified marijuana as a states' rights issue; Johnson, on the other hand, calls for outright legalization.
I like Ron Paul on quite a few issues but he is so last century. A man once ahead of his time who is now falling behind the times. Good. Because I'm tired of a drug war that finances criminals at home and terrorists abroad. Not to mention punishing the traumatized.

Cross Posted at Classical Values

1 comment:

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