On Tuesday, a Texas jury found ex-Marine, Eddie Routh, guilty in the killing of his friend and fellow Marine, Chris Kyle. Prosecutors rejected an insanity plea, claiming that Routh was afflicted by marijuana psychosis.
During closing arguments, prosecutors in the widely publicized “American Sniper” case scoffed at the notion that the defendant, Eddie Routh, was legally insane. Routh had previously been committed to psychiatric hospitals before the killing of two of his fellow Marines in Stephenville, Texas. The prosecutors blamed the use of marijuana in the deaths of Chris Kyle and Chad Littlefield.
After Routh killed both Kyle and Littlefield during a trip to the shooting range, Routh stole Chris Kyle’s truck and proceeded to drive to Taco Bell for a burrito. Rather than viewing this as a clear indicator of his mental state, the prosecution said that this was evidence that Routh was perfectly sane at the time of the murder, and had a case of the the munchies.
During the trial, prosecutor Jane Starnes said,
“You killed two men, and you’re going to go to Taco Bell. But I mean, think about that, too. What does it take to go and order fast food? So you’ve got to go through the right lane; you’ve got to place your order; you’ve got to interact with the clerk; you got to give them the money, get your change, get your food and go. It’s not something that somebody who’s just out of their mind delusional does. What does it sound like? It sounds like somebody who has got the munchies and they got to go get their Taco Bell.”
It would be remiss not to sympathize for the tragic loss of life in this case and the families of those killed. However, throwing out this mentally unstable soldier’s insanity plea to rekindle the use of ‘Refer Madness’ in a court of law seems like the citizens of this small Texas town have just wound the clock back by 80 years.
What is tragic about the trial itself is that our society cannot acknowledge the clear indication of this wore-torn soldier’s mental illness, and has once again senselessly blamed the use of marijuana for an act of violence.
One of the Health Canada-licensed medical marijuana growers in British Columbia has promised $350,000 in sponsorship money to fund a study to focus on the safety and effectiveness of marijuana treatment on post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Post traumatic stress disorder is a mental condition that occurs after a person experiences or witnesses a traumatic event. Many military veterans have publicly declared for years that marijuana helps to keep their PTSD symptoms at bay, or at least to manage them, but a new, unbiased study needs to be completed to determine why cannabis may be effective in treating PTSD.
The medical marijuana facility offering up the funding is called Tilray, and it is located in the city of Nanaimo. The sponsored study is to be run by researches from the University of British Columbia, but in order to begin in early 2015, as hoped, the university’s ethics board must first approve the study. The lead investigator, should the study receive the green light to start, will be Zach Walsh, a UBC professor of psychology. Walsh told the Vancouver Sun,
“Physicians and patients are hungry for research on marijuana. Medical research is playing catch-up with cannabis use so we really need to do these kinds of controlled studies. My professional interest is in developing effective therapies for psychological disorders.”
Forty participants will be selected for the study, and each person will try multiple different cannabis strains to find which strains are best suited to treat which symptoms. Tilray already grows medical marijuana for one-hundred-fifty patients suffering from PTSD, so they do not anticipate having any issues finding willing study participants. In order to receive the medication, all participants must be local enough to drive to the secret location near the research facility where each must personally pick up their marijuana and a study-issued vaporizer to administer the medication.
Each person selected must agree to go through a two week cleansing period before the trials begin. This means that participants who already use marijuana to treat PTSD symptoms, will have to stop medicating for two weeks prior to the start of the study. Two weeks cleansing periods will also be initiated in between administration of each new cannabis strain. This will ensure clear results for which strains best treat which symptoms, or which strains do not work to treat PTSD at all.
Incredibly important and useful information would be learned from this study for the future of marijuana in a whole new world of medicinal uses and therapy options. If successful, it may also open doors to other studies for the safety and effectiveness of marijuana to treat other medical conditions.