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December 03, 2006

More on PTSD...

In several recent blog entries I've promised to discuss the anxiety-related syndromes which my clinical conversations with applicants have shown unequivocally to be treated safely and effectively by their chronic use of  cannabis. Specifically mentioned were various named anxiety disorders as well as PTSD, ADD, and chronic insomnia.

Over the past few weeks, several items in the popular press have been so well timed that I couldn't resist using them to illustrate various key points. The good news is that they've simplified the making of those points; the bad news is that their order has been completely random. Since the blog's search function works quite  well, I've had to content myself with the belief that the diligent readers I'm hoping to reach will use it  to make whatever connections they find necessary.

One such item is a wire service story on drug use by soldiers in Iraq, which reinforces several ideas I've been emphasizing: the first is that most drugs, including alcohol and tobacco, are tried for the first time ('initiated') during adolescence. The second is that they tend to be tried, as Denise Kandel and others first pointed out in the Seventies, in sequence; with alcohol and tobacco first. However, rather than a 'gateway', as was mistakenly assumed back then, pot, in its inhaled form, was really a new drug with unique appeal to adolescents. The proof is that within ten years of its introduction to baby boomers in the mid Sixties, it was being tried at exactly the same  average age as alcohol and tobacco, and well before all other illegal drugs.

 Another point is that among its early chronic users were GIs from Viet Nam who discovered it was safe and effective treatment for their PTSD  long before that entity had been named and adopted as a 'diagnosis' by the committees of psychiatrists and psychologists who took over the DSM project in the ('just say no') Eighties.

If one recalls that it was also then that the military began going to some lengths to weed out pot users before enlistment and has been testing recruits aggressively ever since, I would expect our modern GIs are predisposed to use alcohol and tobacco as stress relievers. Speculation is somewhat complicated by not knowing what percentage of them might have tried pot before enlisting (because I know THEY would be more likely to turn to it for stress than those who hadn't).

Like most human behavior, this account is becoming complicated. Perhaps the best way to simplify it is to end by recalling that the main lesson learned from all my converstaions with current users is that the illegal pot market has been thriving since the Nixon era because pot has proven so effective at releiving adolescent angst, which in our modern world, seems to be increasing on an almost daily basis.

All of which leads me to believe that although immediate political prospects for pot legalization remain murky, it's quite clear that the illegal market for it will remain robust, whether it's sold in buyers' clubs, dispensaries, or back out on the street, just as it was before Proposition 215 passed ten years ago.

Doctor Tom

Posted by tjeffo at December 3, 2006 07:25 PM