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Censoring science: Arizona VA hospital stonewalls doctor's attempt to lecture staff about the benefits of cannabis for PTSD sufferers

VA Medical Center

(NaturalNews) Many veterans who struggle with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) have found relief from their symptoms in the form of cannabis. Although this treatment shows a lot of promise in dealing with a very complex and debilitating disorder, it would appear that the Phoenix Veterans Affairs Medical Center is not interested in sharing information about the subject with the people who could be helped most by it.

A Phoenix doctor who is carrying out a study into the effects of marijuana on veterans with PTSD was hoping to present her findings to medical staff at the Phoenix VA Medical Center, but the hospital refuses to allow her to speak. This is in spite of the fact that her study has gained approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Dr. Sue Sisley is the lead investigator for the Phoenix Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies. Her groundbreaking clinical trial is being funded by the Colorado Department of Health, and will entail a placebo-controlled randomized study of 76 vets who have PTSD. The study will start this summer, and is expected to last for at least two years.

VA's refusal 'really shameful'

Dr. Sisley expressed her discontent with the VA's position, saying that the hospital's refusal to allow her to share this useful information with its medical staff is "really shameful." She pointed out that the staff could have recommended vets who might benefit from the study, as the Phoenix VA hospital has the highest density of veterans who meet the study's criteria.

She added that it is the VA's duty to support scientific investigations into new treatments for the many vets suffering from PTSD, and that their refusal to do so is "negligent," and an "abomination."

While medical marijuana is legal in the state of Arizona, it remains a federal crime to possess it. The Phoenix VA Medical Center's Associate Chief of Staff for Research, Dr. Samuel Aguayo, said that staff members are not authorized to decide if marijuana is appropriate for vets.

He added that this may change if a law goes into effect which recently passed in both houses of Congress, which would permit VA doctors to discuss medical marijuana with vets as a method of treatment. Until that time, he feels that allowing his staff to recommend veterans to participate in the study in question would be "inappropriate."

Doctor believes Big Pharma is behind obstacles

Dr. Sisley believes that the study could lead to the development of a plant-based treatment for PTSD, allowing people to avoid the dangerous side effects associated with psychiatric medications. This, she believes, is the main reason her research is encountering obstacles such as research funding cuts and the fact that she was fired from the University of Arizona.

"They believe that the only research that should be done is isolating a certain cannabinoid in order to patent it to enable them to make lots of money, which is their business model," she said.

Effective therapy for PTSD sorely lacking

Veterans and other PTSD sufferers are in desperate need of an effective therapy. The symptoms include insomnia, panic attacks, suicidal thoughts, aggressive behavior and countless other symptoms that can have a crippling effect on their relationships and daily lives.

There is no specific medication available for PTSD at this time, and the antidepressants that are prescribed to some sufferers carry a number of scary medical and psychological side effects, including an increased risk of suicide and even links to mass shootings.

Thousands of vets are already using cannabis to deal with their PTSD symptoms, with many of them reporting that it works better than Klonopin or Zoloft, which can leave them feeling like "zombies," and are not terribly effective. Veterans who do not live in states where medical marijuana is legal, however, are still unable to take advantage of this treatment if they want to stay on the right side of the law.

Don't the people who have given up so much to defend our country deserve access to treatments that can help them to overcome their trauma?

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