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From the Salem Oregon News

It's a little known fact that the SLCVA Medical Center successfully runs scores of clinical trials with Veteran volunteers. Imagine the Salt Lake City VA running an IRB led study to determining the efficacy of Medical Cannabis in treating PTSD. There is a Native American tribe who could grow cloned product for the VA, under strict supervision, with the drug provided to patients thru the VA pharmacy. Strictly monitored. Just like prozac. Imagine that. aw

Vets with PTSD and Compassionate Cannabis Laws

Eileen Fleming

In recent years, the number of veterans seeking disability compensation for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) has spiked by almost 80 percent. Approximately 20% of veterans returning from Iraq/Afghanistan are being diagnosed with PTSD.

Then God said, “Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds.” And it was so. The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds…And God saw that it was good. Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours…—I give every green plant”…And God saw that it was good and it was so. -Genesis 1:11-12, 29-30

From the time of the United States Revolution through World War I, Veterans had legal access to cannabis; but in 1942 a few powerful men managed to have cannabis removed from the United States Formulary.

In recent years, the number of veterans seeking disability compensation for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) has spiked by almost 80 percent.

America’s veterans are killing themselves at the rate of over five hundred suicides a month. Not counting car wrecks which are the leading cause of death among young veterans. And the suicide rate for Veterans is 18 a day, 548 a month. a

Approximately 20% of veterans returning from Iraq/Afghanistan are being diagnosed with PTSD. The VA only serves about 20% of the Veterans who would qualify for VA care. Most young Veterans refuse any contact with the VA for fear of being diagnosed with a brain injury. A senior administrator at the Salt Lake VA said that if all the Veterans who would qualify for Mental Wellness service showed up seeking services that there would not be enough psychologists and psychiatrists in North America to meet the need. a

VA statistics regarding Iraq and Afghanistan War veterans:

  • Veterans Diagnosed by VA with Mental Health Condition: 193,879 (45.6% of veterans treated by VA)
  • Veterans Diagnosed by VA with PTSD: 114,908 (27.0% of veterans treated by VA)
  • Veterans Filing Disability Claims Against VA: 381,782 (38.9% of veterans)
  • Veterans with Approved PTSd Claims: 53,079 (46.2% of the veterans diagnosed by VA with PTSd)
  • Veterans: 981,834 (out of nearly two million deployed)
  • Veterans Treated at VA Hospitals and Clinics: 425,538 (43.3% of veterans)


Medical research has shown medical marijuana has been very successful in treating PTSD and it’s symptoms.


Medical science proves that the human body makes it’s own cannabis like substances called cannabinoids which are known to ease pain and anxiety. The cannabinoids in marijuana work with this natural body system to ease the symptoms of PTSD, which would give disabled Veterans a big improvement in their quality of life.

PTSD patients have poor responses to psychotherapy and often turn to alcohol and drugs. Many also suffer from chronic pain and addictions to opiate pain medications. However, Vets with access to Cannabis under medical marijuana laws, report cannabis use is a uniquely successful treatment of their symptoms.


Approximately eight percent of the 9,000 Californians whose cannabis use was monitored presented with PTSD (309.81) as a primary diagnosis. Many of them are Vietnam veterans whose chronic depression, insomnia, and accompanying irritability cannot be relieved by conventional psychotherapeutics and is worsened by alcohol. For many of these veterans, chronic pain from old physical injury compounds problems with narcotic dependence and side effects of opioids.

Cannabis relieves pain, enables sleep, normalizes gastrointestinal function and restores peristalsis. Fortified by improved digestion and adequate rest, the patient can resist being overwhelmed by triggering simuli. There is no other psychotherapeutic drug with these synergistic and complementary effects.

Cannabis is compatibile with cognitive behavior therapy. Cannabis can help relieve stress that interferes with this therapy. CBT helps rewire the brain by forming new neural pathways; (actual physical brain structures that can be seen with microscopes.) The electrical signals in the brain follow the path of least resistance. We can create those paths. We don't have to live in a future defined by the past. Our self created neural pathways can be like an organic super-highway path of NO resistance. The idea is that people have the power, with knowledge, to reprogram themselves. It's totally liberating!

The head of the PTSD group at the Salt Lake VA believes that a motivated Veteran can use these evidence based Recovery programs to reduce the symptoms of PTSD to where they are "Un-diagnosable." You don't have to settle for being a F U Veteran for the rest of your life.

You can become anything you want to be if:

  • you can believe in yourself,

  • you are willing to learn

  • and you are patient!




Sgt Michael KrawitzMichael Krawitz, a Disabled United States Air Force Sergeant and the Executive Director of Veterans For Medical Cannabis Access wrote:

As the leader of Veterans For Medical Cannabis Access [VMCA] I helped the VA create a medical marijuana policy that respects the rights of disabled Veterans using this important medicine according to state laws. That policy has been made to look like a cruel joke given the latest actions of this presidential administration.

In response to the actions of the president, our organization has crafted a petition that we have placed on the new White House, “We The People” website: “Allow United States Disabled Military Veterans access to medical marijuana.”

The fact that a Veteran in New Mexico can use cannabis legally for PTSD, but a similar Veteran in Florida will face arrest and punishment at the VA hospital for using the same medicine is wrong. It is illogical. It is not the practice of medicine; it is the practice of politics on the wounded. It is shameful and must end! In 2008, there were over three hundred thousand backlogged disability claims involving veterans with PTSD and depression and that fact depresses me!

We owe our Veterans true support and that includes fighting for their right to obtain Medical Cannabis.If this fiscal conservative, spiritual progressive and citizen of conscience is elected to the US House of Representatives in 2012, among my first acts of Congress will be to sponsor a House Resolution for Compassionate Cannabis laws in Florida and I will strive to make it National."


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