Marijuana to Treat PTSD

Dr. David J.  Shulkin is a board-certified doctor of internal medicine, and is distinguished for his many  medical leadership roles. He”s a smart guy.  You could google him. He now serves as  President Trump’s Secretary of Veterans Affairs.

In the context of medical marijuana’s potential role in treating post traumatic stress disorder, (PTSD), according to  the Washington Post, he commented that evidence is beginning to show the merits of medical marijuana.

It’s tempting to greet such a cautious statement with a sarcastic “well, who knew?”  California recognized medical benefits twenty years ago and now 28 more states do. But, good scientists typically talk that way, and as a federal official he is cautious about coming off as promoting a substance use the government can still jail you for. Or contradicting fellow cabinet member Attorney General (and cannabis skeptic) Jeff Sessions.

Most of the evidence we have showing the benefits of cannabis for PTSD is based on individual testimonials, what scientists call anecdotal evidence. But, there is nothing wrong with anecdotal evidence—it is evidence–especially when we hear it over and over again from believable people. And that’s what returning veterans are telling us.

So much so, according to the Post, the American Legion has taken up the cause to push the Veterans Administration to allow its doctors to recommend it in the 29 states that allow it. The Legion has always been committed to  law and order, but a law interfering with quality medical care for veterans is one they would like to see the VA break.  And they are obviously right in this. The Post quotes the Legion’s Executive Director Verna Jones “when veterans come to us and say a particular treatment is working for them, we owe it to them to listen and to do scientific research required.”

The wheels are turning, but oh so slowly. Surgeon General Jerome Adams has courageously said  marijuana should be treated and studied like other pain relief drugs, according to Stop the Drug War Chronicles. Yet, we still have 21 states that don’t allow it and a federal government that is stuck in a paleo mind set. Oh, wait!  That’s an insult to our stone age ancestors. Let’s just say it’s stuck in the Washington mud of mindless regulation. But, 64% of us support full legalization of marijuana according to a poll conducted in every state by Gallup. That’s up only 14% from 50% six years ago.  This is glacially slow progress, but it is progress.

In my last post I said: “Washington: Time to Wake Up.”  These are encouraging signs they are doing so.

© Rights reserved to Dave Finch 12/8/2017

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