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Veterans Given Access to Medical Marijuana for PTSD

Updated on June 1, 2016
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Paul Striker is a blogger and writer in the LA area. He's also an advocate of healthy living and the ending of the war on drug.

Insomnia, anger, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are all part of the horrors of war which thousands of military vets are forced to cope with on a daily basis. Suicides among veterans are common. Could medical marijuana save lives?

Antidepressants are most commonly used to treat these symptoms, and yet they tend to be unreliable at best. In fact, an article published in the Journal of the American Medical Association has gone so far as to point out that the anti-psychotic drug Risperdal is no more effective than placebos when it comes to treating PTSD.

One drug that has proven particularly effective in the treatment of PTSD, according to preliminary study results, has been medical marijuana. The problem is that doctors from the Department of Veterans Affairs are not allowed to prescribe it.

Legal Action

It is estimated that roughly 22 war vets commit suicide on a daily basis in the United States, primarily as a result of PTSD. In January of 2016, a bi-partisan group of lawmakers urged the Department of Veterans Affairs to change its policy so as to allow vets to receive medical marijuana as a PTSD treatment. However, since marijuana is a Schedule 1 substance, it becomes illegal to dispense or distribute marijuana. This federal law is binding on the Department of Veterans Affairs, even when PTSD sufferers live in a state where medical marijuana is legal.

The situation has become so dire that war vets in Colorado are suing the state in order to be granted access to medical marijuana to treat their affliction. The case continues.

Hundreds of Veterans Line Up For Free Marijuana In Colorado To Protest PTSD Medication Rules

Cannabis Club

The Veterans Farmers Alliance is a group that recognizes the benefits of medical marijuana in treating PTSD. The club, based in Colorado Springs, has been handing out free pot and marijuana edibles to veterans.

The clubs founder, Steve Defino, believes that other groups should be doing likewise. Defino has been fighting PTSD for over a decade. He has found medical marijuana to be the most effective method of treatment. Defino is quoted as saying:

“I've been able to actually go through my memories, recall my memories, without getting upset anymore. I'm starting to live my life again like a normal person.”

Defino is not the only one singing the praises of marijuana as a treatment for PTSD. Hundreds of war vets have come forward to testify regarding the efficacy of medical marijuana in treating a range of ailments. Among these are chronic pain management, insomnia, depression and PTSD.

A Veteran's Perspective of Medical Marijuana

Medical marijuana for war vets: the sooner the better?

Considering that 6% of the American population volunteer to protect the remainder, and that these individuals must face unspeakable acts of violence while serving their country, many subscribe to the idea that it is up to us to do whatever we can to find ways of helping war vets to return to a normal life after their return from war torn areas such as Iraq. Existing treatments for PTSD are largely ineffective, and anti-depressants often have significant side-effects. Hemp and marijuana have minimal side effects, and evidence suggests that they may prove to be the treatment war vets need most.


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