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Iraq War

Veterans May Catch a Break in Oregon


As the 2012 presidential election nears, we will hear two men in suits talking quite a bit about our soldiers.  They will congratulate and praise them, but they will also ignore their basic needs.  Returning home after enduring the daily struggles of a foreign military conflict is not an envious position.  Our government has a responsibility to help who protect our country.  Integrating back into civilian life has proven difficult for many soldiers and with cuts to veteran hospitals and benefits the future does not appear to hold an easier path.

Of course there is an affordable and accessible plan by many to help our soldiers.  Instead of addicting prescription pills that ultimately prove less effective, medical marijuana has been crucial to many returning soldiers.  If we are unwilling to tax, regulate, and stimulate the economy with our antiquated marijuana laws, then of course we would be willing to make an exception for those who ensure our own comfortable lives.  That assumption could not be further from the truth as many states, and The White House have ignored the pleas of veteran organizations.

Recently we did learn there was hope for those soldiers living in Oregon. published an article that describes the efforts of veteran groups and activists seeking to add PTSD to list of conditions that qualify for medical marijuana use.  The article describes the situations of several struggling veterans including Jared Townsend.  Mr. Townsend is an Iraq war veteran and recently said that cannabis use can “balance life out a little bit better.”  He also went on to say “If I get racing thoughts and real worked up, it can break a panic attack pretty quick.”  While there is considerable momentum for attempting to change the law, precedent is not encouraging.  In the 14 years of Oregon’s medical marijuana program only new condition (agitation associated with Alzheimer’s disease) has been added to the list of permissible uses.   In order to get the law changed, a petition will have to be submitted.  Then the Oregon Health Authority will select who sits on a panel to review the submission.  Veteran and marijuana advocates claim that past panels have included many anti marijuana members.

Research is still not conclusive on just how effective cannabis is toward treating complications associated with PTSD.  Dr. John J. Halpern, an assistant professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School said there is an “overabundance of case reports” that suggest that marijuana helps PTSD sufferers.  However he cited political reasons for a lack of research.  Cannabis is the only schedule 1 substance that requires additional review by National Institute on Drug Abuse in order to conduct research.  Many are incensed that the least destructive substance in the schedule 1 category requires so much additional red tape navigation.  Many analysts have noted that a lack of research seems to be a convenient answer as that line can be used over and over by the same lawmakers who simultaneously block the research.  Although research is needed to determine the future of PTSD treatment, we at trusts the tens of thousands of soldiers who have no reason to coordinate a large scale conspiracy.  Our heroes need relief and we cannot arm them to fight foreign wars but simply take away any tools that would help with reintegration.

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memorial day


Most of us enjoy our barbecues and three day holiday weekends.  However, it often seems we can lose track of exactly why we have fired up the grill and cracked those cans of beer open.  The first (and often most fun) of the summer national holidays is here and would like to take this time to do what was initially intended.

Memorial Day was created in order to remember the Union troops during the American Civil War and was originally known as Decoration Day.  While Confederates also had their own day for their soldiers, eventually it would all be combined for a federally recognized national holiday honoring all of America’s fallen troops.  With the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan still ongoing, as well as other military operations, we feel it is important that we take the time to think about all of those men and women away from home.

While we need to acknowledge our soldiers who gave their lives, some have returned from war still having paid too high a price.  We have spoken to so many returning soldiers who gladly gave everything they had only to return home to a social landscape that prevents them from seeking relief.  Cannabis has demonstrated a wonderful potential to alleviate returning soldier’s PTSD symptoms.  Reintegrating back into the society they sought to protect is not always easy and everything should be done to make their transition as easy as possible.  We also want to bring patient awareness as many can only enjoy the holiday fun because of marijuana’s ability to reduce pain and improve their quality of life.  Some can enjoy today’s barbecue because their nausea has dissipated while others may throw the baseball around because their joint pain has subsided.

Unfortunately, in this country patients are often engulfed in their own war.  As government refuses to respect state laws, patients often have to fight social stigmas, and closing dispensaries in their war for safe access.  Memorial Day was set up to remember soldiers, but we would like to expand that to anyone who is sick or struggling, as not all wars are fought with firearms.  Memorial Day has always been about solemn reflection and while it is absolutely appropriate to have some fun this weekend  we feel that the true spirit may have gotten lost in a sea of hopps, barley, and chicken wings.  We just ask that everyone take a second and raise the beer they are already holding up high, and make a toast to think of our returning soldiers, our elderly, our patients, and each other.

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