Medical Marijuana To Be OK in Some VA Clinics
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Medical Marijuana To Be OK in Some VA Clinics
Posted by CN Staff on July 24, 2010 at 11:58:46 PT
By Hope Yen, Associated Press 
Source: Associated Press
Washington, D.C. -- Patients treated at Veterans Affairs hospitals and clinics will be able to use medical marijuana in the 14 states where it's legal, according to new federal guidelines.The directive from the Veterans Affairs Department in the coming week is intended to clarify current policy that says veterans can be denied pain medication if they use illegal drugs. Veterans groups have complained for years that this could bar veterans from VA benefits if they were caught using medical marijuana.
The new guidance does not authorize VA doctors to begin prescribing medical marijuana, which is considered an illegal drug under federal law. But it will now make clear that in the 14 states where state and federal law are in conflict, VA clinics generally will allow the use of medical marijuana for veterans already taking it under other clinicians."For years, there have been veterans coming back from the Iraq war who needed medical marijuana and had to decide whether they were willing to cut down on their VA medications," John Targowski, a legal adviser to the group Veterans for Medical Marijuana Access, which worked with the VA on the issue.Targowski in an interview Saturday that confusion over the government's policy might have led some veterans to distrust their doctors or avoid the VA system.Dr. Robert A. Petzel, the VA's undersecretary for health, sent a letter to Veterans for Medical Marijuana Access this month that spells out the department's policy. The guidelines will be distributed to the VA's 900 care facilities around the country in the next week.Petzel makes clear that a VA doctor could reserve the right to modify a veteran's treatment plan if there were risks of a bad interaction with other drugs."If a veteran obtains and uses medical marijuana in a manner consistent with state law, testing positive for marijuana would not preclude the veteran from receiving opioids for pain management" in a VA facility, Petzel wrote. "The discretion to prescribe, or not prescribe, opioids in conjunction with medical marijuana, should be determined on clinical grounds."Opiods are narcotic painkillers, and include morphine, oxycodone and methadone.Under the previous policy, local VA clinics in some of the 14 states, such as Michigan, had opted to allow the use of medical marijuana because there no rule explicitly prohibiting them from doing so.According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, there are 14 states and the District of Columbia with medical marijuana laws. They are: Alaska, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington. New Jersey also recently passed a medical marijuana law, which is scheduled to be implemented next January.Online:Department of Veterans Affairs: for Medical Marijuana Access: Associated Press (Wire)Author: Hope Yen, Associated Press Published: Saturday, July 24, 2010Copyright: 2010 The Associated PressCannabisNews  Medical Marijuana Archives
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Comment #15 posted by FoM on July 27, 2010 at 04:07:42 PT
I agree. That poll isn't on the up and up. I voted 2 times so someone could be voting frequently.
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Comment #14 posted by Hope on July 26, 2010 at 20:58:34 PT
The poll
I know we've got serious opposition. But the difference in that poll from what it was, and what it is, smells of subterfuge. 
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Comment #13 posted by FoM on July 26, 2010 at 19:12:08 PT
There are people that aren't happy about what the VA will allow now. 
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Comment #12 posted by Hope on July 26, 2010 at 18:07:15 PT
Comment 6
Someone's messing big time with that poll.Rag!
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Comment #11 posted by Hope on July 26, 2010 at 18:06:23 PT
Well that didn't mix too well with chemo brain!
:0)Thanks anyway!
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Comment #10 posted by Storm Crow on July 26, 2010 at 16:08:00 PT
Here's the study.....
The Effects of Delta-9-Tetrahydrocannabinol (Cannabis) on Cardiac Performance with and without Beta Blockade   (full - 1976)'s pretty early stuff- 1976. 
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Comment #9 posted by Hope on July 26, 2010 at 12:37:04 PT
That's one thing that will come with acceptance
and use of the mainstream medicinal use of the plant and it's gifts. Safety. Somebody, like yourself, Storm Crow, that really knows, will bother to say the whys and wherefores... the real ones... instead of just "Don't!", and slapping our hands like we were misbehaving children or something.We all need to know this stuff and we need to be sensible... really sensible about it.
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Comment #8 posted by Hope on July 26, 2010 at 12:32:00 PT
Beta blockers?
That's most blood pressure medicine, I think. Isn't it, Storm Crow. How does it effect them?I know I just recently found out that the blood pressure medicine I've been taking since last fall is a beta blocker. I didn't have a clue.I'd be cross eyes at the very sight of trying to pick through those amazing studies right now... but it's something we all need to know about.You educate us so much better than we were, Storm Crow.I understand completely about the dodginess of your situation. We have to be careful. This is sticky business and people want to hurt people about it all.... even just the activism.
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Comment #7 posted by Storm Crow on July 26, 2010 at 07:49:28 PT
Ripit.... just a FYI
Although cannabis mixes well with other drugs as a rule, it does interact with some drugs. You need more propofol to get the same effect if you are a cannabis user, but it makes opiates work better at killing pain. Beta blockers, Haloperidol and the multidrug transporter ABCC1 (MRP1) are all affected by cannabis. My new list has a fairly large section on "Interactions with other drugs". Most of the studies are just "It makes pain pills work better", but there are some important exceptions like the propofol.As for the social effects for me- I don't like living 2 lives! I have to hide a lot of who I am! And it really bugs me not being able to say "Cannabis is good for that", when I hear people talking about their ailments. But if I want to continue working in education, I have to keep things quiet. However, I may forced to come out of the "grow closet" pretty soon. Ran into the mother of one of my former students at the dispensary the other day! We had a very interesting chat, to say the least! She's the first "hometown" person, beyond a few very close friends, that knows I use cannabis! Running into folks at the dispensary, that's something that's going to happen more and more! lol Someone will have a big mouth, eventually, and the cat will be out of the bag! (Heavens, do I ever hope that the "legalization" thing passes in California this fall- life would be SO much easier!)
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Comment #6 posted by FoM on July 25, 2010 at 09:09:24 PT
John Tyler
Thank you. The Prohibitionists are out in full force these days.Please Vote: :
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Comment #5 posted by John Tyler on July 25, 2010 at 09:02:38 PT
Re:Comment #2
Better get out the vote. The count has shifted to YES 14%.
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Comment #4 posted by ripit on July 25, 2010 at 08:01:24 PT
i aint ever seen any
does anybody here ever had or heard of any drug interactions bad or other wise with cannabis?and if so what were they? ok, i'll start with mine!1. using cannabis while using methadone got me incarcarated!
2,i got me 5 years of finacial hardship (restitution and cos makes sure i have nothing left of my disability check)
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Comment #3 posted by Sam Adams on July 24, 2010 at 17:33:32 PT
>> "The discretion to prescribe, or not prescribe, opioids in conjunction with medical marijuana, should be determined on clinical grounds."How about these "grounds" Doc...this guy just went over and risked having his a$$ blown off for youI've got another idea, how about veterans are immune from being arrested or prosecuted for possession and use of any drug. That would be a good start
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Comment #2 posted by FoM on July 24, 2010 at 14:42:18 PT
Poll On The New York Daily News
Should veterans have access to medical marijuana in every state?***Current Results:Yes, if regulated, it is a safe drug, especially for medicinal use. -- 98% No, it is a drug that can lead to more serious drug use and increase crime. -- 2% URL:
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Comment #1 posted by Sam Adams on July 24, 2010 at 12:26:46 PT
one more thing to remember
Dr. Donald Abram's study on opiates & cannabis for pain relief should be published soon. It found that cannabis adds to, or multiplies, the pain relief from opiates and specifically advises that doctors consider treating patients with both. It found that patients can decrease their opiate dose with cannabis.Basically it certifies what patients have known for years. I'm not sure if the study exists in a form that patients could take to their doctors but it should be officially published eventually, he's already presented the results at the POT conference this April.
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