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Medical Marijuana Answers: MMJ OK'd for VeteransDr. Phil Leveque Salem-News.com
(MOLALLA, Ore.) - If you think for one minute that I am ecstatic about this you are correct! I was first introduced to “loco weed” in 1928 when I was selling newspapers in a “red-light” district. In 1950, I was again introduced to cannabis as medicine when I started studying for a Ph.D. in Pharmacology and Toxicology at Oregon Medical School. I have been studying and reviewing medical articles ever since.
When Oregon legalized Medical Marijuana in 1998 I was one of the first doctors to sign patients' applications for Medical Marijuana Permits. I had patients number 13 and 14, and within one year I had signed for about 900. The next doctor had 71 patients. I continued for 5 years and ended up with about 5000 patients. The next doctor had about 1000.
The Oregon Department of Human Services produced the law and 8 disparate medical conditions were listed. I didn’t believe one medicine could be effective for such a wide variety of medical conditions... It wasn’t until I started seeing Medical Marijuana patients that I continued to be surprised by patients' medical histories that Marijuana was effective, safe treatment for about 100 different diseases from scalp to toenail with new medical conditions showing up frequently.
As of now, July 2010, about 1,000,000 patients in 14 states have permits to use Marijuana. One of my biggest surprises was Vietnam Veterans who told me that it was excellent for “Battle Terrors” and also PTSD, which is the unfortunate but all too common sequel with possibly as many as 1,000,000 Veteran victims.
The two common treatments by the VA are Opiates like Morphine, mostly for pain-related symptoms and Anti-Depressants, which the VA was using for DEPRESSION which is a misdiagnosis for ANGUISH, the main psychological sequel of PTSD.
Apparently VA scotch drinking Administrators and some physicians didn’t like the idea of PTSD patients smoking their medicine and successfullly BANNED Veterans from using marijuana from any treatment, because they were “illegal pot-smoking criminals”.
I had hoped from the first day I wrote an application that Marijuana would be legalized and put back where it was in 1920; one of the most widely used successful medicines ever. It didn’t happen. Too many scotch drinking politicians rejected “Devil weed” and believed “Reefer Madness” and re-criminalized Marijuana.
Reading the NY Times article VA Easing Rules for Users of Medical Marijuana brought a tear to this old Dogfaces’s eye. Reading the article brought forth some of the worst misinformation I have read. I will correct at least some of them based on my 50+ years of study and 5000 Marijuana patients:
1. Medical Marijuana is safely compatible with almost ALL other medications. I know of no adverse combinations.
2. Marijuana does soothe physical and psychological pain and alleviates nausea and vomiting of many oral medications.
3. Laura Sweeney of the Dept. of Justice seems to believe it should be used only for cancer patients. It is useful for cancer, but only about 5% of patients use it for that.
4. Marijuana is almost as effective as Morphine and other OPIATES, those derived from Opium. It is probably as useful as OPIOIDS such as Methadone, Fentanyl and Demerol, which are totally synthetic drugs; not from actual Opium.
5. Many PTSD and other victims have abandoned VA treatment because their treatment was worse than their medical problems. Many became alcoholics and died; tobacco users and died; or other illegal drugs, heroin or cocaine, and died, or are just plain homeless.
One of the most ignorant and foolish remarks published in the NY Times was a comment by Robin Korogi, the Director of Veterans Health Care in Montana. I nearly threw up when I read It. “(The VA) did not want to prescribe pain medication in combination with Marijuana because there was NO evidence that Marijuana worked for non-cancer patients and because the combination was unsafe”. Ms. Robin Korogi should know by now that at least 15,000 patients in Montana are using Marijuana with great success for at least 100 different diseases, along with other medications and is completely safe - with only the munchies, mild sedation or euphoria being the most adverse side effects.
To Ms. Korogi:
GET A DIFFERENT JOB!!
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