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May-05-2011 11:16printcomments

Cannabis Gives Hope to Warriors with PTSD

Dr. Phil Leveque has helped treat many veterans through medicinal Cannabis.

Bonnie King and Dr. Phil Leveque
Dr. Phil Leveque and Bonnie King take on the subject of Cannabis treatment for PTSD.
Photo by Tim King

(SALEM, Ore.) - No recruit ever considered that basic training would be easy, and in a time of war, they quickly discover that combat is a far cry from Hollywood’s portrayal. Reality is what it is. Dr. Phil Leveque knows this to be true. He served in the US Army and lived through World War II- and bears the scars within to this day.

“We were psychologically and physically stretched beyond normal limits and many recruits died. A bunch more were permanently psychologically damaged and the end result was PTSD even during training.”

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a severe anxiety disorder which can occur after witnessing or experiencing even one traumatic event, especially when it involves injury or death, or the threat thereof, so being in a war takes that trauma to new levels. It is important to note that PTSD can be, and usually is, a long term/lifetime problem.

A recent report estimated that up to 40% of the Middle East veterans would be victims of combination of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI).

Maybe more.

As a regular general practice physician and later as a marijuana doctor, Dr. Leveque saw the devastating results of the effects on veterans for generations.

Frequently, during the post-trauma time, with no better idea at hand, Dr. Leveque says that many PTSD patients discover that alcohol “drowns ones sorrows”.

Also during this post-trauma time, some caregiver will say to himself,”let’s treat this patient’s PTSD” and here come a mélange of medications. The various and numerous treatments leave very much to be desired; in fact their treatments have far more failures than successes.

“Those same pseudo-doctors and paper-pushers decry the use of marijuana,” says Dr. Leveque. “The veterans use it preferentially, to the zombifying and/or addicting drugs prescribed wholesale by those ’caregivers’, who then blame the victim for using a medication which works: Marijuana.” Dr. Leveque was convinced that there was a better way. And in the state of Oregon, it was so.

“I was asked by a healthcare professional at the Portland VA Hospital if I would help PTSD Veteran Victims to get permits to use legalized medical marijuana. I already had some Veteran patients from WWII, Korea and Vietnam, so I obliged.

“Within two weeks I had more than 50 Nam Vets requesting my help. As part of their medical history I asked what previous medicines they had been given or prescribed.

“There were two main types: strong pain killers (like Oxycontin, Morphine and every related pain killer), and anti-depressants.

“I was flabbergasted to read the anti-depressant list of many patients; Paxil, Zoloft, Prozac, Lexapro, on through the whole list of about 12; but nothing shocked me like the dangers they admit to! The US Food & Drug Administration (FDA) says they can cause very bad adverse side effects including anxiety, depression, addiction, severe withdrawal, homicidal rage and suicide.”

It makes one wonder why they should be given to a psychologically fragile PTSD patient.

Others PTSD medications are common sedatives, strong analgesics, muscle relaxants, etc. almost all of which make the patient groggy, stupefied and possibly more non-functional than the PTSD itself.

Marijuana is not dangerous and has never killed anybody in 4,000 plus years of use. As Dr. Leveque likes to say, “It is about as dangerous as a Starbucks espresso, and probably a lot less so.”

Veterans with PTSD were some of the first to discover that its medicinal qualities outweighed those of typical pharmaceutical drugs.

Medical marijuana acts as a homeostatic modulator, which means that it is used to help patients get back into a normal state, based on the extent and cause of their PTSD and many other physical/ mental/ psychological conditions. Medical marijuana reduces pain and memories of pain, modulates emotional reactivity, modulates negative affect (depression), relaxes skeletal and smooth muscle, modulates mood decreasing anxiety and insomnia, and acts as an antidepressant without adverse effects.

According to Dr. Leveque, the “medical” care givers of these PTSD vets seem intimidated. Yes, by the PTSD vets. And, he says “they should be. At this stage of their lives as veterans they don’t have to take any paternalistic crap from anybody. THEY HAVE PAID THEIR DUES!”

Now is the time to tend to the Veterans of today, suffering from PTSD. Legalize Medical Marijuana- they need it, and it works!

Previously published in the 2011 Nimbin MardiGrass Festival program

Publisher Bonnie King has been with since August '04. Bonnie has a wide ranging media background and in her career she has served in a number of positions in the broadcast industry; TV Production Manager at KVWB (Las Vegas WB) and Producer/Director for the TV series "Hot Wheels in Las Vegas", TV Promotion Director for KYMA (NBC), and KFBT (Ind.), Asst. Marketing Director (SUPERSHOPPER MAGAZINE), Director/Co-Host (Coast Entertainment Show), Radio Promotion Director (KBCH/KCRF), and NIE/Circulation Sales Manager (STATESMAN JOURNAL NEWSPAPER). Bonnie has a depth of understanding that reaches further than just behind the scenes, and that thoroughness is demonstrated in the perseverance to correctly present each story with the wit and wisdom necessary to compel and captivate viewers.

View articles written by Bonnie King

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TBISir5R May 7, 2011 10:05 pm (Pacific time)

1. Federal Gvt. States illegal. 2. Canabis positive UA is Hot Pee Test is not conclusive to good order or UCMJ. 3. TBI and PTSD victims are Astrocized for use of MaryJane Pot Drugs and alcohol. 4. I agree my Prozac gives me rage but I find everything funny and wife likes me better. If FDA Backs POT as Medication than I can legally use like Oxy or Motrin. Until it will be Tylenol if my liver will Hold UP!

Lisa May 7, 2011 5:04 pm (Pacific time)

EMDR has the same benefits without the necessity for drug or substances of ANY kind.

Jack May 5, 2011 11:56 pm (Pacific time)

I read a lot about legalization of “Medical Marijuana”, however, it makes no sense at all to do so and it is not even necessary. If such laws are to be written, then first the term should be defined. Cannabis or Marijuana is not by definition a medicine, drug or substance, it is simply leaves and flower buds of a plant, and therefore, it can perhaps be defined as “Herbal Medicine” or “Herbal Marijuana/Cannabis Remedy”. Under law, the definition of “property”, which is the fundamental thing that is so important in our Civil Society and Government, comes from the 17th-century political philosopher John Locke. Before his time, people understood only, “The Devine Rights of Kings” and they had not much concept of personal property at all. John Locke’s definition of property is to this day, the accepted moral and ethical definition, which is that every person has the absolute right to take from nature what they may need for their preservation, subsistence or revelation provided they are not greedy. People own their own bodies and by the act of taking from nature, that “thing” becomes their property. Therefore, it is plain to see that people already have the right to use Cannabis (the natural plant) particularly if grown themselves, in any way they see fit, that no Politician or Government has the “right” to state anything else different. Any laws concerning the possession of cannabis, being the property of that person, are and would be, unconstitutional. Look it up if you don’t believe me, Second Treatise of Government by John Locke, CHAP. V. Of PROPERTY.

Colli May 5, 2011 1:26 pm (Pacific time)

So why not legalize medical Marijuana? Refusing to legalize it for medical use just does not make any sense at all! Keep at them Bonnie - you are right and they know it. MAYBE IF YOU TELL THEM IT WILL GET THEM RE-ELECTED THEY MIGHT GO FOR IT. Colli

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