My name is Sergant Ryan Begin United States Marine Corps (Ret). I served two tours in Iraq. During my second tour on August 1, 2004, I was hit by an improvised explosive device, also known as a roadside bomb. I lost my right elbow and endured over 30 surgeries. On that day my elbow saved my life in two seperate ways. First it physically saved me by absorbing the shrapnel and blocking my vital organs from being ripped apart. The second way it saved me would not reveal itself until last winter, seven years later. It qualified me for medical marijuana in the state of Maine due to the intractable pain. I have also been diagnosed with severe PTSD, and although people with PTSD do not "qualify" for medical marijuana, it was my PTSD condition that received the greatest benefit from medical marijuana.
Every day veterans are returning home from combat and once they return they face their biggest battle, dealing with the PTSD they now suffer from. We know it works and we want research to be done so that we can find out how and why. Sadly, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and DEA refuse to allow research to be done on medical marijuana and PTSD.
The FDA has approved a protocol to study the therapeutic potential of marijuana for veterans suffering from PTSD. But amazingly, NIDA has a monopoly on the cannabis used for research in the U.S. and they continually refuse to allow researchers to purchase their marijuana for this study. Their decision is clearly political, and it's impending research and prolonging suffering for America's troops who have sacrificed so much for their country.
NIDA's refusal also comes at a time when physicians themselves are recognizing the medical value of medical cannabis. Recently, the California Medical Association told the Los Angeles Times that the question of whether marijuana is a medicine "can only be answered once it is legalized and more research is done" ("California Medical Assn. calls for legalization of marijuana", October 15, 2011).
Scientists, veterans, physicians, public health officials, and state governments are now calling for an end to the U.S. government's blockade of medical marijuana research. I hope you'll join us and sign this petition.