prescription drugs

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U.S.: Veterans Increasingly Turning To Marijuana For PTSD Relief

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

More and more states and considering allowing military veterans and others with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) to use medical marijuana for relief. But many veterans aren't waiting for permission.

Military veterans are increasingly using medicinal cannabis, although it remains illegal in most states and is frowned upon by the Department of Veterans Affairs, reports the Associated Press.

Marijuana does a lot better managing anxiety, insomnia and nightmares than the harsh pharmaceuticals approved by the federal government and handed out by the VA, according to many former members of the military. Prescription drugs such as Zoloft and Klonopin are often ineffective and make them feel like zombies, many veterans said.

"I went from being an anxious mess to numbing myself with the pills they were giving me," said 39-year-old former Marine Mike Whiter of Philadelphia, where marijuana is still illegal. "Cannabis helped me get out of the hole I was in. I started to talk to people and get over my social anxiety."

After Andy Zorn got home from serving with the Army in Iraq, he suffered from PTSD and self-medicated with cannabis. The VA diagnosed him with "marijuana dependence" as well as depression and bipolar disorder, according to his mother, Sally Schindel of Prescott, Arizona.

Iowa: Poll Shows Growing Support For Medical Marijuana; Legislature Considers Expanding Law

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

More than three of every four Iowans now favor allowing patients to use marijuana medicinally, but most remain opposed to its recreational legalization, according to a new poll.

Iowans have become more comfortable with medical marijuana, which is now supported by 78 percent of the state's adults, according to the Des Moines Register/Mediacom Iowa Poll, reports Tony Leys at The Des Moines Register. That represents a gain of 20 points in support levels in just three years; support was at 58 percent in 2013.

But most Iowans continue to oppose allowing marijuana for fun. Just 34 percent of adults favor that idea, up 5 percentage points from 2013, according to the poll.

The poll results come as Iowa lawmakers are considering expanding the state's tiny, ineffective medicinal cannabis program. The state's current law, passed in 2014, only allows possession of cannabidiol (CBD) oil, a marijuana extract that isn't psychoactive and helps quell seizures associated with severe epilepsy. It provides no legal method to make the CBD oil, nor does it provide any legal method to obtain or distribute it.

Texas: Veterans To Gather At Capitol On Veterans Day To Demand Medical Marijuana

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Texas Veterans to Gather at State Capitol on Veterans Day to Launch ‘Operation Trapped;’ Group Wants Legal Access to Medical Marijuana — a Safer Alternative to Many Prescription Drugs — for PTSD, TBI, and Other Service-related Conditions

News Conference Wednesday at 1 p.m. CT in front of the Texas Capitol Vietnam Veterans Monument

Veterans are beginning a collection of supportive veterans’ prescription pill bottles to highlight the need for legal access to medical marijuana

Texas veterans and their supporters will gather in front of the Vietnam Veterans Monument at the Texas State Capitol at 1 p.m. CT on Wednesday, November 11, Veterans Day, to announce the launch of Operation Trapped. The monument is located on the northeast side of the Capitol grounds near the corner of 14th Street and Brazos Street.

Operation Trapped, backed by Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy, is a veteran-based campaign intended to build support for legislation allowing access to medical marijuana — a safer alternative to prescription drugs — for treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), traumatic brain injury (TBI), chronic pain, and other service-related conditions.

U.S.: Dr. Oz Says He'd Opt For Cannabis, Given That Option

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Popular TV physician Dr. Oz on Friday ran a positive story on medicinal cannabis. "Cannabis is a natural medicine which is less addictive and ultimately safer than opiates that are currently the standard of treatment," said Dr. Mehmet Oz, who is a cardiothoracic surgeon. "And as a physician, I'd opt for the safer choice, given that option."

Those with severe chronic pain have learned that our choices are limited, reports Devi E. Nampiaparampil, MD on DoctorOz.com. Medical marijuana is increasingly seen as an alternative to harsh, addictive pharmaceutical opioids which carry the threat of overdose.

Another problem with opioid painkillers is the phenomenon of tolerance, wherein the drugs become less effective over time, making larger doses necessary -- and, once again, bringing up the danger of overdose, since taking too large a dose of opioids can depress the portion of the brain which controls breathing.

Cannabis, on the other hand, has never caused any lethal drug overdoses -- and the number of opioid deaths appears to have decreased in states with laws allowing medical marijuana. It may be that the addition of cannabis is effectively replacing opioids for some people, and according to some studies it might also be boosting the pain relief patients get from the same dose of painkillers.

Survey: Americans More Concerned About Driving Effects of Alcohol Over Marijuana

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

With the recent legalization of recreational marijuana use in Colorado, Washington, Alaska, Oregon, and the District of Columbia, there's a scare campaign by drug war advocates who want the American public to be afraid of the supposed menace of pot-impaired drivers. Many Americans, however, aren't really buying it, according to a survey from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.

Despite the inclusion of per-se impairment levels for blood THC in Washington state's Initiative 502, for example, the Foundation's annual Traffic Safety Culture Index reveals that, compared to alcohol, Americans are significantly less concerned about the thread of marijuana impairment behind the wheel.

The survey found that while two-thirds feel that those who drive after drinking pose a "very serious" threat to their personal safety, just over half feel the same way about pot use. In fact, one in six Americans repoprt that, where they live, "most people" feel it's acceptable to drive one hour after using cannabis.

The scare campaigns are, unfortunately, having some effect. The survey found that nearly half of Americans reported feeling that drug-impaired drivers are a "bigger problem" today than compared to three years ago. Fully 85 percent support some form of marijuana-impairment laws when it comes to operating motor vehicles.

But Americans are quite unclear on impairment thresholds (naturally, since there's no convincing science showing a "bright line" cutoff point for THC), as well as on safety implications and legal ramifications.

Florida: Physician Dispensing Associated With Unnecessary Prescribing Of Opioids

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A new study from the Workers Compensation Research Institute (WCRI) found evidence that physician dispensing encouraged some physicians to unnecessarily prescribe strong opioids. The study analyzed the prescribing behavior after Florida banned physician dispensing of strong opioids.

The authors of the study, "The Impact of Physician Dispensing on Opioid Use," expected little change in the percentage of patients getting strong opioids — only a change from physician-dispensed to pharmacy-dispensed. Instead of finding an increase in pharmacy-dispensed strong opioids, the study found no material change.

Rather, there was an increase in the percentage of patients receiving physician-dispensed weaker pain medications—specifically, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (e.g., ibuprofen)—from 24.1 percent to 25.8 percent, and the percentage receiving weaker (not banned) opioids increased from 9.1 percent to 10.1 percent.

The study found there was a high level of compliance with the ban by physician-dispensers. Prior to the reforms, 3.9 percent of injured workers received strong opioids dispensed by physicians during the first six months after their injuries. After the ban, only 0.5 percent of patients with new injuries received physician-dispensed strong opioids.

Mississippi: Former Pastor Says Marijuana Is God's Medicine

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A former pastor in Mississippi has something he wants you to know about marijuana.

"If you believe in God, you have to believe in cannabis," Al Pollard said in an interview with WDAM-TV. "It's a plant."

Pollard, a paraplegic who is on an exuberant mission to educate Mississippians about cannabis, wants it to be legalized, taxed, and regulated, reports The Clarion-Ledger.

"It's God's medicine," Pollard said.

He became paralyzed in a diving accident at age 18. Pollard said that during the first six months after his accident, he was prescribed to more than a dozen medicines a day, including prescription narcotics for pain.

After leaving physical therapy, he stopped taking those prescription drugs and starting using marijuana.

"I recently came clean with my doctor telling her I've never taken medicine since my release from rehab," Pollard said.

"She was shocked, but believed me. I told her marijuana is my medicine and that it helps me," he said. "Maintaining a moderate use has proven to be the cause of my healthy condition."

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