mike whiter

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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.

Pennsylvania: Patient Advocates Applaud Petition To Allow Medical Marijuana Vote

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Planned discharge petition would remove SB 3 from House Health Committee where it has stalled and permit a vote in the full House of Representatives

Pennsylvania State Rep. Nick Miccarelli (R-Ridley Park) filed a discharge petition in the House of Representatives on Friday to remove a medical marijuana bill from the House Health Committee and bring it to the full floor for a vote. SB 3 would allow seriously ill Pennsylvanians to access medical marijuana with recommendations from their doctors.

Rep. Matthew Baker (R-Wellsboro), who chairs the Health Committee, has stated that he will not call the bill for a vote there.

“There is no reason this compassionate legislation should not get a full vote,” said Christine Brann of Dauphin County, whose son has an intractable seizure condition called Dravet Syndrome. “SB 3 passed overwhelmingly in the Senate and is supported by the vast majority of Pennsylvania doctors as well as residents. We know this works. The time to allow our most vulnerable residents to access medical marijuana is now – not in the fall.”

Rep. Ron Marsico (R-Harrisburg) announced his plans to introduce a new medical marijuana bill in the coming weeks but details have not been finalized.

“Thousands of seriously ill Keystone State residents are depending on our representatives to support this discharge petition and SB 3,” said Mike Whiter, a combat veteran from Philadelphia who suffers from PTSD. “Chairman Marsico's proposal — that he write a bill that would not be considered until fall — is not a reasonable alternative.

Pennsylvania: Doctors, Veterans Call On Lawmakers To Approve Medical Marijuana Bill

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A group of medical doctors will visit Pennsylvania state lawmakers on Tuesday and urge them to support legislation that would allow seriously ill residents to use medical marijuana if their doctors recommend it.

They will join a group of local combat veterans and their loved ones at 1:30 p.m. ET for a news conference outside the Lt. Governor’s Office.

Participants in the event will include Dr. Sue Sisley, a nationally recognized authority on treating post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) with medical marijuana; Dr. Sanjay Gupta of Philadelphia, a prominent pain management specialist; Dr. Scott Mueller of Mechanicsburg, a family medicine physician; combat veterans Mike Whiter and Barrett Thompson of Philadelphia, both of whom suffer from PTSD; and Donnamarie Freedman of Cumberland County, the mother of a veteran who committed suicide after struggling with PTSD.

The Senate approved SB 3 40-7 on May 12, and the issue is awaiting consideration in the House. SB 3 would allow patients with serious medical conditions to obtain medical marijuana from a limited number of licensed, regulated dispensaries throughout the state.

Smoking would not be permitted, but patients would be allowed to consume marijuana in edible form, and patients with certain conditions would be allowed to consume it through vaporization. To qualify, patients would need recommendations from their doctors.

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf has said he would sign a medical marijuana bill into law.

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