The Obama administration has failed the American public with regard to medical marijuana policy, and now the administration is intentionally standing in the way of providing psychological aid to those it sent into harm’s way.
Earlier this year, the Food and Drug Administration approved a study exploring how cannabis may alleviate the symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). The study was blocked by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). The administrators at NIDA are political appointees, which means they serve at the pleasure of the President.
As far back as 2006, a doctor named Tod Mikuriya was studying over 9,000 California residents to see how cannabis use affected them. Eight percent of the people in his study were suffering from PTSD as a result of wartime or civilian trauma. He branched his study off and studied these people (approximately 300 of them) and how cannabis use affected them compared to the big-pharma-produced chemicals they were being prescribed, drugs like antidepressants and antipsychotics.
In treating PTSD, cannabis provides control and amelioration of chronic stressors without adverse side effects. Mainstream medicine treats PTSD symptoms such as hyperalertness, insomnia, and nightmares with an array of SSRI and tricyclic anti-depressants, sedatives, analgesics, muscle relaxants, etc., all of which provide inadequate relief and have side effects that soon become problematic.
Based on both safety and efficacy, cannabis should be considered first in the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder. As part of a restorative program with exercise, diet, and psychotherapy, it should be substituted for “mainstream” anti-depressants, sedatives, muscle relaxants, tricyclics, etc.
That’s right: pot worked better than prescription drugs, and it was less dangerous. Dr. Mikuriya has since passed away, but the spirit of his work was picked up by Dr. Rick Doblin, executive director of the non-profit Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS). Dr. Doblin recognized that, although Dr. Mikuriya’s research was credible, it lacked real weight because it was not part of an FDA study. So he drew up study protocols, submitted them to the FDA, and they were approved. The study would test varying doses of marijuana on 50 combat veterans with PTSD whose symptoms have not improved with the aid of conventional treatments, such as talk therapy, antidepressants and anti-anxiety medicines. Dr. Sue Sisley of the University of Arizona at Phoenix planned to lead the research.
This study was designed to test the 2006 findings about pot helping PTSD and pave the way for veterans to be eligible for MM. If successful in proving the link, the MAPS study would have been a powerful instrument to help the men and women damaged as a result of their government service to recover from the horrors of their condition. The problem came when MAPS tried to obtain the marijuana necessary for the research.
The NIDA maintains a monopoly on the research marijuana crop, and grows it on land owned by the University of Mississippi. This is currently the only marijuana plant material approved for scientific purposes (despite other offers), and Dr. Doblin couldn’t have any. Marijuana was codified as a Schedule I drug by the federal government in 1972 meaning, according to the federal government, that is was an extremely dangerous drug with no currently accepted medical uses. It was on this basis, in spite of literally all scientific and medical research conducted since that time, and despite Obama’s public pledge that “[t]he public must be able to trust the science and scientific process informing public policy decisions”, that the MAPS study was rejected.
So that’s where we’re at as a country. The U.S. government named marijuana a Schedule I drug by fiat, with no research, and is not only ignoring scientific studies which prove the falsehood of this classification, but actively preventing medical study which may do massive good to the soldiers politicians pretend to care so much about on the campaign trail.
The president lied as a candidate in 2008 when he said “What I’m not going to be doing is using Justice Department resources to try to circumvent state laws on this issue simply because I want folks to be investigating violent crimes and potential terrorism. We’ve got a lot of things for our law enforcement officers to deal with,” because that is exactly what his attorneys are doing in California, at his behest.
In March of 2009, President Obama said “For their service and sacrifice, warm words of thanks from a grateful nation are more than warranted, but they aren’t nearly enough. We also owe our veterans the care they were promised and the benefits that they have earned. We have a sacred trust with those who wear the uniform of the United States of America.”
The actions of administrators and agencies under his direct control have once again made those words lies. For more information, check out Obama: From First to Worst on Medical Marijuana.
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