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VA To Fund Psychedelic Research for Veterans’ Mental Health

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Summary: The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is set to fund research studies exploring new therapies using psychedelic compounds for treating mental health conditions in veterans. This initiative aims to improve care for veterans by investigating the potential benefits of psychedelics in treating conditions like PTSD and depression.

VA’s New Initiative: Funding Psychedelic Research for Veterans’ Mental Health

In a significant move to enhance mental health care for veterans, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has announced its plans to fund research studies on psychedelic therapies. This initiative marks a pivotal moment in mental health treatment, as it explores the use of controlled psychedelic substances, such as MDMA and psilocybin, in conjunction with psychotherapy to treat conditions like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression among veterans.

The research will be conducted in collaboration with academic institutions and will adhere to strict safety protocols, requiring regulatory approvals from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Drug Enforcement Administration. The FDA has already recognized the potential of these compounds, granting them breakthrough therapy status for treating PTSD and depression.

This decision by the VA follows a comprehensive review of current scientific evidence on psychedelic-assisted therapies. The review, conducted by VA and federal clinicians, scientists, and policymakers, concluded that there is a need for VA-funded studies to understand the efficacy of these treatments specifically for veterans.

Preliminary studies have shown promising results. Research from Johns Hopkins indicated that psilocybin therapy could alleviate depression symptoms for up to a year. Similarly, MDMA-assisted therapy has demonstrated significant benefits in treating PTSD. However, these studies included few or no veterans, highlighting the need for more targeted research.

The VA’s initiative aligns with the growing interest in alternative mental health treatments and responds to calls from veterans service organizations for more research into psychedelics. The National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2024 has also authorized the Department of Defense to study psychedelics within military populations.

By funding these studies, the VA joins the National Institutes of Health in supporting research that could lead to new, effective treatments for mental health conditions prevalent among veterans. This initiative represents a hopeful step towards addressing the complex mental health challenges faced by those who have served the nation.

Why It Matters: The VA’s decision to fund research on psychedelic therapies is a significant development in the field of mental health care for veterans. It acknowledges the need for innovative and effective treatment options for conditions like PTSD and depression, which disproportionately affect veterans. This research has the potential to offer new insights and therapies that could greatly improve the quality of life for many veterans.

Potential Implications: The successful implementation of psychedelic-assisted therapies could lead to a paradigm shift in the treatment of mental health conditions, not only for veterans but also for the general population. It could pave the way for more holistic and effective approaches to mental health care, potentially reducing the reliance on traditional pharmaceutical treatments.

Source: Sierra Sun Times


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AI Disclaimer: This news update was created using a AI tools. PsychePen is an AI author who is constantly improving. We appreciate your kindness and understanding as PsychePen continues to learn and develop. Please note that the provided information is derived from various sources and should not be considered as legal, financial, or medical advice.



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States WIth The Biggest Chance For SAD And Can Weed Help

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Seasonal Affective Disorder is in full bloom with short days and long dark evenings and nights…here is what you need to know.

 Season Affective Disorder (SAD) is a common winter ailment. Roughly 5% of adults in the U.S. experience SAD and it typically lasts about 40 percent of the year. More women than men are hit with this issue.  SAD has been linked to a biochemical imbalance in the brain prompted by shorter daylight hours and less sunlight in winter.  How do you know know if you have it, what to do and does where you live make a difference? Here are the states must likely to have SAD and can weed help?

RELATED: 8 Ways to Enjoy Marijuana Without Smoking It

One of the most crucial steps in combating SAD is properly identifying its symptoms. Some of those symptoms include:

  • Anxiety
  • Social withdrawal
  • Sleepiness and fatigue
  • Weight gain
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • And several others

Those who are suffering from any of these symptoms should refrain from self-diagnosis and seek professional assistance. 

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Photo by Andrew Neel via Unsplash

There are a number of ways to offset some of the sadness that comes with the changing of the seasons. or example. While there is more clinical research needed, is data suggesting that CBD could help to alleviate anxiety and support healthy sleep patterns. CBD has also been seen as instrumental in boosting dopamine levels.

Cannabis contains cannabinoids which can have a positive impact on mood, while potentially increasing serotonin levels. Marijuana is also a proven sleep aide.  Sleep can help your body rebalance and directly help moods.

Once you have been diagnosed, make a plan and you will see gradually improvement.  Travel to bright places can help.

RELATED: 5 Ways To Overcome The Winter Blues This Year

Based on a study, here is the data on chances of having SAD based on where you live.

State

Average ° F

Average rainfall in Inches

Total Hours of sunlight

Highest Chances of S.A.D Based on weather 0/90

Alaska

26.7

2.49

358

74.25

New York

48.1

3.76

414

68.14

Washington

48.5

3.46

437

66.97

Vermont

45.7

3.77

451

66.54

Michigan

47.3

3.08

474

62.90

New Hampshire

46.3

3.84

526

62.61

Maine

44.2

3.71

564

61.43

Connecticut

51.2

4.35

562

60.08

Wisconsin

45.7

2.84

498

59.91

Oregon

48.9

2.29

467

58.94

Massachusetts

50.3

4.11

587

56.63

New Jersey

54.8

3.76

576

56.00

Rhode Island

53.1

4.04

590

55.96

Pennsylvania

50.9

3.58

566

55.61

Ohio

52.9

2.95

499

54.68

Minnesota

43.5

2.25

527

54.66

Indiana

53.8

3.25

546

53.92

West Virginia

53.3

3.31

644

53.69

Illinois

53.8

3.15

565

52.59

Delaware

57.4

3.62

586

52.19

Tennessee

58.6

3.98

591

51.67

Kentucky

57

3.55

579

51.21

Maryland

56.1

3.58

586

51.08

Louisiana

67.4

4.56

643

51.07

Virginia

56.5

3.58

644

50.25

North Carolina

60.2

3.92

617

49.68

Missouri

56

3.7

610

49.61

Arkansas

61.4

4.33

616

49.16

Hawaii

71.8

5.23

546

49.08

Mississippi

64.2

4.13

642

48.94

Iowa

49.8

2.68

588

48.87

Alabama

63.7

4.07

622

48.67

Florida

72.7

4.24

659

47.72

North Dakota

42

1.29

560

47.37

South Carolina

63.4

3.7

669

45.38

South Dakota

46.4

1.36

627

43.47

Nebraska

49.5

1.6

610

43.07

Montana

43

1.08

576

42.85

Georgia

64.6

3.47

701

42.54

Kansas

55.4

2.19

642

40.41

Oklahoma

60.6

3.32

695

40.19

Texas

65.5

2.71

658

37.80

Idaho

44.8

1.48

661

35.60

Wyoming

42.5

0.97

679

33.70

California

60.9

1.47

727

31.74

Utah

49.1

1.12

700

30.58

Colorado

45.9

1.18

734

26.02

New Mexico

53.8

1.32

802

19.50

Nevada

50.2

0.76

851

19.36

Arizona

61.3

1.16

888

6.72



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Depression and the Potential Therapeutic Effects of Medical Cannabis

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So, whether you’re a patient looking for alternatives, a caregiver seeking new treatment options, or a curious mind interested in the intersection of cannabis and mental health, this discussion is for you. We’ll explore what the science says, break down the facts, and tackle the myths. Let’s journey together into the promising world of medical cannabis and its potential for mental health treatment.



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Study Reinforces Marijuana’s Power To Treat PTSD

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There seems to be bi-partisian support for medical marijuana to be an aide in treating PTSD. The VA Medicinal Cannabis Research Act was introduced during summer for Department of Veterans Affairs. In addition to pain and post-traumatic stress disorder, the legislation would require the VA to examine how the plant affects sleep, agitation, mortality and hospital readmissions.  It was is critical as it healthcare professionals, veterans and counselors give the nod it is a benefit for those in need.

Science is finally backing up these opinions. A study published in the Journal of Pharmacology looked at the patient history of 24,000 Canadians using 2012 Statistics Canada data. Researchers were interested in exploring how cannabis could affects those living with PTSD, specifically with regards to suicide and depression. Living with PTSD sharply increases the risk of depression and suicide in patients unless, researchers discovered, they consume marijuana.

RELATED: Science Says Medical Marijuana Improves Quality Of Life

“We know with limited effective treatment options for PTSD, many patients take to medicating with cannabis to alleviate their symptoms,” lead author Stephanie Lake told Global News. “However, until now, there has been no population-level data to suggest cannabis might have a possible therapeutic role in the course of PTSD. These findings offer those patients seeking treatment options some promise.”

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Photo by lalesh aldarwish via Pexels

In the more than 24,000 participants, researchers found 420 Canadians who’d been clinically diagnosed with PTSD. About 28% (106 individuals) of those living with PTSD reported using cannabis in the past year. Only 11% of respondents undiagnosed with PTSD reported cannabis usage. Non-users were seven times more likely to have experienced a recent major depressive episode and had a 4.7% higher chance of contemplating suicide, compared to non-cannabis users who didn’t suffer from PTSD. Among cannabis users, the study did not find a connection between PTSD and depression or suicide.

RELATED: Exploring The Connection Between Marijuana And PTSD

Official VA statistics reports about 10-20% of veterans live with PTSD, depending on the service era in which they participated. But the organization’s National Suicide Report paints a starker picture — suicide rates are increasing for both veterans and non-veterans. About 20 veterans commit suicide each day, according to the report.

While more research is necessary, as Lake and her team said, this study points to how cannabis might assist those living with PTSD.



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