Cannabis Science Calls for Public Support for Vets as New York Times Reports VA Docs Prohibited From "Recommending" Cannabis for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Colorado Bureaucrats and Politicians Just Say No to Vets
Should 20 Year-Old Disabled Vet Have to Go to "Substance Abuse Counselor" Before Getting Medical Marijuana?
March 31, 2010
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo., - Cannabis Science, Inc. (OTCBB:CBIS), a pioneering U.S. biotech company developing pharmaceutical cannabis products, is calling for the American people to support veterans seeking medical marijuana, especially for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
Today, the Associated Press is reporting that the Veterans Administration will not even allow its doctors in New Mexico, whose medical marijuana laws explicitly recognize PTSD as a condition for which cannabis can be used, to help disabled vets get cannabis on their own. The AP reports, "The VA is telling me if I just stay away from medical marijuana, we'll give you all the pills you want, morphine, whatever ... "
(The full story is online at http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2010/03/31/us/AP-US-Medical-Marijuana-VA.html?scp=7&sq=marijuana&st=cse)
Dr. Robert Melamede, PhD., Cannabis Science President and CEO, said, "Everyone talks about 'supporting our troops', but here are real world examples of how politicians and bureaucrats are putting Prohibition ahead of the needs of the patients, even our veterans. This problem demonstrates why our research is so important."
Cannabis Science also denounced the failure of the Colorado State House of Representatives to add Post Traumatic Stress Disorder to the list of conditions for which medical marijuana can be used. Last week, The New York Times reported on the differences between Colorado and New Mexico.
Under Amendment 20 to Colorado's constitution passed in 2000, medical marijuana can only be used for certain conditions, but the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment must approve any new conditions that might be added. Unfortunately, the CDPH bureaucrats not only refuse to hear petitions from vets, but publicly opposed the measure, saying, "There is no evidence of efficacy of marijuana for treatment of PTSD in the medical literature."
Dr. Robert Melamede remarked, "Because the Federal government has blocked research on medical cannabis for decades, it would not be surprising if there really wasn't anything in the medical literature, but even so, it is both untrue and irrelevant. In fact, last year, a New Mexico medical committee said medical marijuana can be used to effectively treat PTSD. I suppose the Colorado bureaucrats expect the veterans suffer silently until they catch up on their reading."
In January 2009, a New Mexico medical advisory committee recommended that post-traumatic stress disorder be added to the state's list of conditions eligible for medical marijuana. The secretary of the New Mexico Department of Health, Dr. Alfredo Vigil, approved their recommendation.
The Times also reported that "more than a quarter of the 1,376 patients approved for medical marijuana in New Mexico have PTSD ... To qualify, a patient needs a referral from a primary care doctor or a psychiatrist along with documents from the psychiatrist certifying that the patient has the disorder."
Dr. Melamede also pointed out that research sponsored by the Canadian military indicated "the potential benefits of nabilone, a synthetic cannabinoid, in patients with PTSD experiencing poor control of nightmares with standard pharmacotherapy." The study was published in CNS Neuroscience & Therapeutics (2009 Winter).
Melamede explained, "Generally speaking, most patients prefer to use whole cannabis which contains many other cannabinoids, and that is why Cannabis Science, as a patient oriented company, is focused on developing whole cannabis products that meet FDA standards."
In addition, Dr. Melamede pointed out that there are other recent studies that indicate the value of cannabis in the treatment of emotional and psychological problems. The March 20 edition of Pharmacology Biochemistry & Behavior reported that results of "this study show that (9)-THC and other cannabinoids exert antidepressant-like actions, and thus may contribute to the overall mood-elevating properties of cannabis."
Similarly, the March issue of Learning and Memory has a study, "Stress response recruits the hippocampal endocannabinoid system for the modulation of fear memory." Melamede noted that this latest study demonstrates how cannabinoids work in the brain.
Nonetheless, the Denver Post is reporting, "Sens. Chris Romer and Nancy Spence want patients younger than 21 years old to first see a substance abuse counselor before getting a recommendation for medical pot from a doctor. Doctors who override the counselor's nonbinding recommendation would be reported to the medical board of examiners for review."
In other words, a 20 year-old who was old enough to serve in a war is not old enough to get legal access to medical marijuana without going to a so-called "substance abuse counselor".
Read more: http://www.denverpost.com/headlines/ci_14775678#ixzz0jfbXkY5E
Richard Cowan, Cannabis Science CFO, noted, "We should be far beyond such "reefer madness" at this point. On March 7, The Harm Reduction Journal published a study showing that 'Cannabis use did not seem to compromise substance abuse treatment amongst the medical marijuana using group, who (based on these preliminary data) fared equal to or better than non-medical marijuana users in several important outcome categories (e.g., treatment completion, criminal justice involvement, medical concerns) ... "
In an April 2009 a study by the Rand Corp., found that nearly 20 percent of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans - 300,000 in total - surveyed reported symptoms of PTSD or major depression but only half have received treatment. Diagnoses of PTSD has risen "quite steadily" over the past seven years.
On March 2, Cannabis Science announced the results of its own survey of more than 1,300 individuals with PTSD, including a large cohort of veterans. The survey was conducted by Cannabis Science Advisory Board member Dr. Mitch Earleywine PhD. of the State University of New York (Albany).
Dr. Earleywine explained, "Veterans reported that cannabis helped nearly all symptoms of PTSD, with special emphasis on three important components: sleep disturbance, irritability, and disturbing memories. PTSD is notorious for leading to difficulty falling and staying asleep. This insomnia can make other mental and physical symptoms worse. The import of the cannabinoids in sleep is well established, so the idea that it should aid this aspect of PTSD is no surprise ... These can be particularly resistant to treatment with other approaches, but respondents reported that medical cannabis helped minimize these experiences dramatically."
Recently, Fox News carried a debate between Paul Culkin, an Iraq War veteran who heads the New Mexico Medical Marijuana Patient's Group and Dr. Andrea Barthwell, who previously worked for both the Drug Czar's office under President George W. Bush and GW Pharmaceuticals, which also opposes medical marijuana.
Richard Cowan, Cannabis Science CFO, said, "We are proud to stand up for those who have fought for our freedom, and it is outrageous that the VA and Colorado bureaucrats and politicians would deny them the right to use a plant that they already know helps them cope with PTSD and other problems. We are glad that President Obama is giving greater latitude to the states to set their own medical marijuana policies, but everyone on both sides of the argument for and against 'health care reform' should recognize that veterans should not be threatened with arrest for using a plant."
About Cannabis Science, Inc.
Cannabis Science, Inc. is at the forefront of medical marijuana research and development. The Company works with world authorities on phytocannabinoid science targeting critical illnesses, and adheres to scientific methodologies to develop, produce, and commercialize phytocannabinoid-based pharmaceutical products. In sum, we are dedicated to the creation of cannabis-based medicines, both with and without psychoactive properties, to treat disease and the symptoms of disease, as well as for general health maintenance.
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