Recently the argument to begin using medical marijuana to treat veterans with post traumatic stress has been in the news.
For some time now, lesser-known veterans groups such as Veterans for Medical Cannibas Access have been holding up studies by Israeli nueroscientist Dr. Raphael Mechoulam as proof that the medical use of marijuana can help veterans with PTSD cope with their symptoms. An Associated Press report states that veterans are now the driving force behind getting the drug approved to be prescribed by the Veterans Affairs in states where medical marijuana is legal.
Which, if that ever happened, I’m pretty sure there would be a growing push to legalize it in all states.
The American Legion has even begun to advocate for allowing VA doctors to prescribe medical marijuana and ease restrictions on medical pot research, according to the report.
Story after story is being told about veterans learning to control their PTSD with the drug, allowing them to get off of sometimes dangerous combinations of other drugs used in combination as their standard therapy.
There are 28 states and the District of Columbia that have medical marijuana programs, with PTSD listed as one of the maladies the drug can be prescribed for. However, there just isn’t enough evidence to prove pot really works to treat PTSD, according to the American Psychiatric Association.
Personally, I’m rather up in the air on the issue. If it seems to work for someone, then what they do in their own home to regain a semblance of normalcy should be their own business (and their doctor’s), not mine. Personally, I wouldn’t do it myself. It has nothing to with whether or not I feel the drug should be available or not, it’s simply a physical thing.
I get physically sick every time I even smell it. Unless I was given it in some sort of pill form, I wouldn’t even be able to try it out.
The problem for other veterans, however, remains the inability to really study whether it works because the drug remains illegal according to the federal government, making it nearly impossible to properly study.
There remain a ton of arguments both for and against using pot to treat PTSD, especially among veterans. And many questions, as well. For instance, if the VA were given official approval to begin prescribing medical marijuana to veterans, how long would it be until our active-duty forces would be required to start prescribing our actively serving soldiers a bag of pot to treat their own diagnosed PTSD symptoms? And just what would that do for the readiness of the force?
Tell me what you think. Are you for or against the issue, and why? Let me know.
David A. BRYANT is an Army retiree and a military journalist for the Killeen Daily Herald. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 254-501-7554.