Cannabis Science Comments on NY Times Article Regarding Major Support From Veterans Affairs for Medical Marijuana; Cannabis Science Hails the New Veterans Affairs Policies on Medical Marijuana for Disabled Vets as Validation of Company's FDA Focus on Help
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo., (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Cannabis Science, Inc. (OTCBB:CBIS - News), a pioneering U.S. biotech company developing pharmaceutical cannabis products, is hailing the Veterans Affairs' new policies on medical marijuana for disabled vets as a triumph of science and compassion.
On Friday The New York Times reported, "Under department rules, veterans can be denied pain medications if they are found to be using illegal drugs. Until now, the department had no written exception for medical marijuana. This has led many patients to distrust their doctors, veterans say. With doctors and patients pressing the veterans department for formal guidance, agency officials began drafting a policy last fall."
According to a letter issued by the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, Under Secretary of Health Robert Petzel, M.D. "a patient's use of medical cannabis is not sufficient cause to deny him or her access to prescribed pain medications in a Veterans Affairs facility" -- however, these new rules apply only in states with medical marijuana laws.
The letter to Michael Krawitz, administrator for the group Veterans for Medical Marijuana Access, states: "If a Veteran obtains and uses medical marijuana in a manner consistent with state law, testing positive for marijuana would not preclude the Veteran from receiving opioids for pain management in a Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) facility. ... Standard pain management agreements should draw a clear distinction between the use of illegal drugs, and legal medical marijuana."
Krawitz had contacted the agency after hearing several complaints from veterans who had been denied treatment at VA facilities because of their state-authorized use of medical cannabis.
Cannabis Science President and CEO, Dr. Robert Melamede, PhD, commented, "We see this announcement as a validation of our strategy of focusing on helping disabled vets suffering from PTSD, chronic pain, and other problems. Nonetheless, it is shocking to think that disabled veterans in states without medical marijuana laws can still be denied 'access to prescribed pain medications in a Veterans Affairs facility.' That is tantamount to torture and good medicine and basic human decency do not change from state to state."
Richard Cowan, Cannabis Science CFO, added, "We are still sacrificing real war heroes to satisfy the blood lust of the cowardly drug warriors. Those who fought for our freedom should not have to move to another state to get life saving medicine."
On March 31 Cannabis Science issued a press release calling for public support for vets after the New York Times reported that VA Doctors are prohibited from "recommending" cannabis for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Also, Cannabis Science has previously reported that Dr. Mitch Earleywine, PhD. of the State University of New York (Albany) has surveyed over 1,300 veterans and others who find cannabis very helpful with PTSD.
On May 20th, Cannabis Science issued another press release reporting that a widely-prescribed medication has been linked to both suicides and sudden death among veterans suffering from PTSD.
According to an article by Martha Rosenberg originally published on Alternet.org and published in March on NewsBlaze.com reported that at least 87 military men have died in the past six years while prescribed Seroquel and similar drugs. http://newsblaze.com/story/20100324080950rose.nb/topstory.html
Rosenberg reported, "Death certificates and other records collected by veteran family members suggest more than 100 similar deaths among Iraq and Afghanistan combat vets and other military personnel, many on PTSD cocktails with Seroquel and other antipsychotics, antidepressants, mood stabilizers, sleep inducers and pain and seizure medications."
Dr. Melamede commented, "Of course, after more than 5,000 years of use, cannabis has not been shown to have caused a single death, and it is now widely -- but illegally -- used by veterans and others with PTSD as we have reported. It is shameful that those who deserve the best treatment available are being denied access to cannabis while they are given a cocktail of powerful drugs that seems to be killing them."
About Cannabis Science, Inc.
Cannabis Science, Inc. is at the forefront of pharmaceutical grade 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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