VA Doctors Prohibited from Prescribing Medical Pot
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VA Doctors Prohibited from Prescribing Medical Pot
Posted by CN Staff on March 31, 2010 at 04:54:16 PT
By Sue Major Holmes, The Associated Press 
Source: Associated Press
Albuquerque, N.M. -- When Paul Culkin came home to New Mexico after serving with an Army bomb squad in Iraq, he tried counseling and medications offered by the Department of Veterans Affairs to cope with his post traumatic stress disorder. Nothing worked very well. Then he found a new alternative: marijuana.New Mexico is the only state that explicitly allows people with PTSD to smoke pot under its medical marijuana law - an issue that is getting attention around the country at a time when traumatized vets are coming home from wars in Iraq and Afghanistan in large numbers.
New Mexico's medical marijuana law has created a conundrum for the Veterans Affairs, which does not allow its doctors to prescribe pot because the drug is illegal in the eyes of the federal government. So, patients like Culkin must seek out an endorsement from a private doctor.PTSD accounts for more patients than any other of the state's 16 eligible debilitating conditions approved for medical marijuana treatment.Culkin wishes the VA could provide it."Oh my God, it would be so helpful," said Culkin, 30, who heads the New Mexico Medical Marijuana Patients Group formed last December as a support and education group.If the VA handled all needs - including medical cannabis - care for veterans would improve, he said, because the doctor would know everything about the patient."If these guys fought the hardest they could, why not give them the best medicine, or an alternative medicine you can?" Culkin said.States where medical marijuana use has been approved have been trying to determine what ailments the drug will help. Those efforts have resulted in a mishmash of regulations.For instance, a Colorado House committee in March rejected following New Mexico's lead in specifically listing PTSD to qualify for medical marijuana. California doctors can recommend medical marijuana for a variety of conditions and "any other illness for which marijuana provides relief."The American Medical Association has called for controlled studies of marijuana for patients whose conditions it might help. The association also wants a review of marijuana's status as a Schedule 1 drug so clinical research can move ahead.The Department of Veterans Affairs says it is developing a national policy, and the head of Veterans for Medical Marijuana Access believes a VA policy allowing medical marijuana "is inevitable.""We're all on the same side," said Michael Krawitz of Virginia. "My goal is a good outcome for the veteran, and that's their goal.""The irony in this ... is it's a common thing for veterans to tell me, 'The VA is telling me if I just stay away from medical marijuana, we'll give you all the pills you want, morphine, whatever,'" he said.Krawitz, 47, was severely injured in a motorcycle accident while stationed in Guam with the Air Force about 20 years ago and eventually received a medical discharge.He is an advocate for marijuana's medicinal benefits."It makes it so you can put down a lot of the pain pills. It helps with nerve pain, that really bad spasming and twitching."He praises the care he's gotten from the VA, but adds: "I feel sorry for the VA; they're caught in the middle ... They have a clear mandate to take care of veterans."Given their inability to get medical marijuana from the VA, New Mexico veterans are finding their own go-to physicians, including Dr. Eve Elting in the central part of the state."I have guys coming to see me from all over the state, five or six hours' drive, just to be legal," said Elting, of Truth or Consequences. "It's bad enough they have something that makes life so challenging. On top of that they're discriminated against, made to feel like they're doing something wrong."Elting said veterans hear about her by word of mouth since she will see people who aren't regular patients. About a quarter of those who come to her want medical marijuana for PTSD. One day she saw eight veterans - five for PTSD.New Mexico doctors do not prescribe medical cannabis. Rather, they certify someone has one of the approved conditions and that standard treatment doesn't work. Patients then apply to the state program. If an application is approved, the patient gets a registry ID card that allows possession of up to 6 ounces of medical marijuana.A psychiatrist's diagnosis must be included for PTSD. For chronic pain, X-rays or CT scans are required and both a primary doctor and a specialist have to sign off."Even though the VA has prohibited them from signing the documents, I don't see why a physician treating the veteran would not be willing to sign a piece of paper attesting that the patient had that condition," said Elting, who did her residency at a VA hospital and serves on New Mexico's eight-member medical advisory board for the program.Veterans armed with Elting's signature would still have to find a private psychiatrist or other specialist to sign."Everyone's happy to give them a million narcotics, anti-psychotics. It's frustrating," she said.Source: Associated Press (Wire)Author: Sue Major Holmes, The Associated Press Published: Wednesday, March 31, 2010Copyright: 2010 The Associated PressURL: Medical Marijuana Archives
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Comment #24 posted by Paint with light on April 01, 2010 at 20:25:13 PT
Dare comment on Sting
"We do not need pop stars coming out and making irresponsible statements like that".Yeah, we all know making irresponsible statements is Dare's job.Legal like alcohol.
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Comment #23 posted by dongenero on April 01, 2010 at 08:35:49 PT
Barry Cooper narrative
I was just reading the investigative narrative from the link in comment #5.
This seems like an abuse of power. It's despicable to do this to these children. The content about the 7 y.o. special needs child crying uncontrollably (and inexplicably?) upon execution of the search warrant is just amazing.Sure! Why would a 7 year old cry uncontrollably when paramilitary forces raid their home to take them away?
This is not child cruelty?It goes on:
"Please explain your concerns regrading supervision of the children" Which is answered with; "Parents are unsuitable and create an environment where the children believe the government is out out harm them."Well, that about takes the cake. I guess the children will have no doubts about it now.Reefer madness.
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Comment #22 posted by dongenero on April 01, 2010 at 08:11:20 PT
Thank you Sting.
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Comment #21 posted by FoM on April 01, 2010 at 07:59:15 PT
I have the windows open too. It's still cool now but it should hit 80 today. This is a very welcome change after the long and hard winter.
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Comment #20 posted by Hope on April 01, 2010 at 07:33:07 PT
Beautiful day here.
Supposed to get up to 83 today. Windows open. Birds on the seed trays are really watching me. They aren't used to the window between us being that wide open.
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Comment #19 posted by FoM on April 01, 2010 at 06:56:56 PT
I hope the weather warms up and you have a great turnout tomorrow. I feel very sorry for the people in Rhode Island that are having terrible flooding. 
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Comment #18 posted by josephlacerenza on April 01, 2010 at 06:40:16 PT
FoM in the 80's 
Here I sit this first day of April, and I feel the April's fool! It is not going to get above 40 today in Bozeman!!!Well, that's how the cookie crumbles :)I'm hoping for better weather for tomorrows MCN clinic. I do not think the poor weather will effect turn out. People here in Montana are used to this. The weather is one of the reasons there are not more people who live in this great state.
MCN clinic Bozeman, MT
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Comment #17 posted by FoM on April 01, 2010 at 05:50:28 PT
Sting Calls for Legalization of Cannabis
April 1, 2010URL:
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Comment #16 posted by FoM on April 01, 2010 at 04:58:55 PT
Just a Comment
The news is very slow but we are entering a big holiday weekend. Hopefully some news will surface later on today. We are going to hit 80 today. After a long and hard winter this is refreshing. I hope everyone has a great weekend.
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Comment #15 posted by John Tyler on March 31, 2010 at 21:06:52 PT
Afghanistan now #1
This just in… according to Reuters - Wednesday, March 31 2010  has now become the top supplier of cannabis, with large-scale cultivation in half of its provinces, the United Nations said on Wednesday.
Between 10,000 and 24,000 hectares of cannabis are grown every year in Afghanistan, with major cultivation in 17 out 34 provinces, the U.N. drug agency (UNODC) said in its first report on cannabis production in Afghanistan.
You can say what you will about the Afghans, but they can grow some world class cannabis even the UN agrees with that. These guys are plant growing wizards and are able to produce robust crop yields -- 145 kg of resin per hectare compared to around 40 kg per hectare in Morocco -- making it the world's largest producer, estimated at 1,500-3,500 tons a year. The UN guys can’t seem to understand why so much cannabis Is grown.…just because it is easy to grow and they can make a lot of money from it and plus the fact that everybody loves it could be possible reasons. I guess the UN guys will figure it sooner or later after another multimillion dollar study.
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Comment #14 posted by FoM on March 31, 2010 at 18:56:08 PT
Heads Up: South Park: Medicinal Fried Chicken
10 PM ET
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Comment #13 posted by Paint with light on March 31, 2010 at 18:41:12 PT
Another article mostly on our side
This article looks at the revenue side of cannabis in a mostly fair way.Not too many of the usual scare tactics are used. like alcohol.
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Comment #12 posted by Sam Adams on March 31, 2010 at 17:28:28 PT
New and old
isn't it interesting that we have "new" uses for medical cannabis? The 2nd most prescribed medicine of the 1800's, used since 7,000 BC.... "New"and even more ironic is the fact that Jesus administering medical cannabis oil for Tourette's was actually mentioned in the Bible! "cast out the demons", etc, it was one of his miracles.
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Comment #11 posted by Sam Adams on March 31, 2010 at 17:26:08 PT
"the world is watching" 
the world may not be watching as much as you think!Did you know that after the Michael Phelps incident, the local sheriff in Carolina investigated and arrested a dozen students for marijuana possession? in an attempt to get to Phelps! didn't see that in the media, did you. remember the 98% of the sheeple are sound asleep or shopping.
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Comment #10 posted by FoM on March 31, 2010 at 14:07:17 PT
NYT: A New Use for Medical Marijuana?
Ryan Collerd for The New York TimesMarch 31, 2010 
Louis Centanni smokes marijuana daily for relief from the tics of Tourette’s syndrome.“There’s one thing that helps my Tourette’s more than anything, and it’s marijuana,” says Louis Centanni, the 24-year-old actor and comedian featured in Patient Voices: Tourette’s Syndrome. Dr. Robert A. King and Dr. James F. Leckman of the Yale School of Medicine, who recently joined the Consults blog to answer readers’ questions about Tourette’s, here respond to readers asking about the use of marijuana for easing the tics, vocalizations and jerking movements of the syndrome.URL:
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Comment #9 posted by ripit on March 31, 2010 at 12:49:46 PT
just what ya would expect from them to go after his kids to get to him!how stupid can they be to take this route when all the world is watching them thru the internet. go barry! don't back down now!
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Comment #8 posted by ray on March 31, 2010 at 11:47:31 PT
DEA not a Medical Organization 
the VA takes it's lead -thus far- from DEA...not a medical organization...they are a police org....not doctors....why do they have any say-so?  
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Comment #7 posted by Hope on March 31, 2010 at 11:39:23 PT
Reformers have been accused of using patients.
Prohibitionists have used everyone's children, and as an extraordinarily powerful "tool" of control and coercion. The prohibitionist spotlight on the child is not about justice and freedom.
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Comment #6 posted by Sam Adams on March 31, 2010 at 10:18:37 PT
hmmm, maybe that's why the entire government fought decrim so hard here in Mass. And now all the governor candidates in CA are fighting it there.They want the ability to take your kids away. Power and control is what it's all about.If you have the power to steal someone's children, you have absolute control, period, end of story.
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Comment #5 posted by herbdoc215 on March 31, 2010 at 09:41:07 PT
Barry Cooper is getting abused by the Nazi's
They are trying to take his kids for fighting back, and for teaching them the truth. If this ain't fascism I'll kiss an elephants ass!Stephen C. Webster
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Police: Teaching Kids to Mistrust Government Makes Couple ‘Unsuitable’ Parents
By STEPHEN C. WEBSTERWilliamson County Courthouse, in Georgetown, TexasTexans, beware: If you teach your kids that the “government is out to harm them,” police in Williamson County might just deem you an “unsuitable” parent.That startling claim, leveled by officers in Child Protective Services documents detailing an investigation into an Austin-area activist couple, should be enough to give reason for pause to any staunch conservative in the state. Snipped!!!
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Comment #4 posted by Sam Adams on March 31, 2010 at 08:08:44 PT
if you think my theory is crazy consider that the NM law DOESN'T require MRI's. MRI's are the standard for many orthopedic injuries such as spine problems, CT scans are useless for soft tissue problems. but of course MRI's don't give you any radiation.I predict that within 10 years there will be a huge movement to completely avoid western health care. It will soon be too expensive anyway, and many of the invasive treatments are toxic.
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Comment #3 posted by Sam Adams on March 31, 2010 at 07:58:16 PT
New Mexico
Wow, I didn't know the law was so bad in NM:>>>Patients then apply to the state program. If an application is approved, the patient gets a registry ID card that allows possession of up to 6 ounces of medical marijuana.A psychiatrist's diagnosis must be included for PTSD. For chronic pain, X-rays or CT scans are required and both a primary doctor and a specialist have to sign off.Can you imagine? I just read an article this morning saying that CT scans are now recognized as causing many cases of leukemia and other cancers.These extra clauses in the law are unbelievable - for a patient in severe pain in NM you know have to lay out THOUSANDS in medical bills before you can use the herb that high school kids are smoking by the thousands.I find it quite disturbing. We are a country of bullies. The sick, the poor, the immigrants, all are targeted for exploitation by the various government and quasi-govt. agencies. Hey! Here's a person will terrible pain, let's soak them for two or three thousand each! They're really hurting, I'm sure we'll get a lot of takers for this program!  We'll even give 'em a nice dose of radiation, maybe they'll come back to us for MORE business in 20 or 30 years when they get lymphoma! says FDA suppressed safety concerns on CAT scans
Says he objected to radiation risks for the healthyBy Matthew Perrone, Associated Press | March 31, 2010WASHINGTON — A former Food and Drug Administration scientist said yesterday that his job was eliminated after he raised concerns about the risks of radiation exposure from high-grade medical scanning.Dr. Julian Nicholas said at a public hearing that he and other FDA staffers “were pressured to change their scientific opinion,’’ after they opposed the approval of a CAT scanner for routine colon cancer screening. Nicholas said that he objected to exposing otherwise healthy patients to the cancer risks of radiation.After FDA officials pushed ahead with plans to clear the device, Nicholas, now a physician at the Scripps Clinic in San Diego, said he and eight other staffers raised their concerns with the division’s top director, Dr. Jeffrey Shuren, last September. The device apparently is still under review.“Scientific and regulatory review process for medical devices was being distorted by managers who were not following the laws,’’ Nicholas said. A month later Nicholas’s position was terminated, he said.
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Comment #2 posted by runruff on March 31, 2010 at 06:40:44 PT
From a previous thread.
Calvina Fay got ink...Here is some ink for Calvina Fay!!Oh wait, stop the presses, Calvina Fay's opinion puts the kibosh on the findings of the entire AMA.Well that's it folks, we're leaving the "stoned age", it's back to the stone age with Calvina Fay and her wisdom of the day!
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Comment #1 posted by runruff on March 31, 2010 at 05:26:54 PT
You fight in corporate wars... come home to corporate made laws.2+2 still equal 5 in bazzaro world!
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