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Florida Army vet Mathew Young uses medical marijuana to treat his PTSD and other war injuries.

Florida Army Vet With PTSD Fights Marijuana Charges

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Mathew Young fought for his country in Iraq, losing some of close friends and returned home a shattered shell of his former self. Now The Florida Army vet is latest victim in the war against marijuana. Cops arrested Young in November on trafficking, possession and manufacturing marijuana charges. During interviews with local TV stations, Young and his lawyer insist he was using pot to treat his war injuries.

In addition to suffering from post traumatic stress disorder and shrapnel wounds, Young has aids, which he said he contracted treating wounded soldiers during his tour as a medic. The 45-year-old Pasco County resident is also dealing with head trauma caused by concussions he sustained from roadside bombs.

The trauma of war followed him home. “I hid myself in a 12-by-12 bedroom and didn’t want to engage the world,” Young told Bay News 9. “I was dying. I was basically living in a bed and weighed about 128 pounds.”

He only started to feel better when he tried medical marijuana. The cannabis helped the Florida Army vet decrease the side effects and the pain of his illness and injuries. He was able to put away his wheelchair and walk without difficulty. And it calmed down his PTSD.

Shawn Gearhart, who is Young’s lawyer, said his client isn’t a criminal.

“He is a patient,” Gearhart told WTSP 10 News. “It’s obvious that he needs this medical cannabis to control the side effects of these other drugs he is taking and live a normal life.”

Gearhart managed to get two of the charges against his client dropped, but he still faces one county that could send Young to prison for five years. Gearhart’s goal is to ensure Young’s right to use marijuana for medicinal purposes.

“There is millions of Floridians that can benefit from whole flower cannabis that are dealing with debilitating diseases,” Gearhart said.

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Canadian Medical Association Declares Smoking Marijuana Bad

jointsmokingComparing smoking marijuana to smoking tobacco, the Canadian Medical Association approved a resolution opposing the smoking of any pot plant material at is annual meeting in Ottawa on Aug. 20. Members of the Canadian Medical Association who lobbied for the resolution noted that marijuana smoke contains many of the same chemicals as tobacco smoke, and some toxin levels are several times higher. For example, the level of ammonia is twenty-times higher than in tobacco smoke, said Canadian Medical Association President Dr. Chris Simpson.

“Smoking marijuana may be more harmful than tobacco, with increased levels of tar… and longer, deeper inhalation,” Simpson said.

However, some physicians attending the annual meeting dissented. Dr. Ashley Miller said taking a prohibitionist stance is based on ideology. Miller wanted to see an evidence-based harm reduction policy instead.

Although some companies in the Canadian medical marijuana industry backed the Canadian Medical Association’s resolution. For instance, Bedrocan Cannabis Corp. issued the following statement:

The CMA is quite right to point out that there are particular hazards associated with smoking any plant material, including medicinal cannabis. While some patients, particularly those who use small quantities, choose to smoke medicinal cannabis, the preferred method of delivery is via the use of a vaporizer – a device that heats cannabis to release the cannabinoids (the active ingredients), but does not burn it. There is good clinical evidence to show that vaporized cannabis contains significantly lower levels of toxins and harmful chemicals.

Of course, Bedocran stands to benefit from the vaporizer method since it manufactures the Vapormed Volcano Medic. According to the company, cannabis vapor is absorbed through the lining of the lungs, causing a rapid onset of therapeutic effect, and allows patients to relatively effectively control dosage.