As veterans in Colorado sue to have access to medical marijuana through Veterans Affairs (VA), some veterans are already using marijuana as a treatment to relieve the symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). For the veterans who are using it to get relief, they claim that it works to provide relief for their symptoms.
According to the VA, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder happens after a person has been through one or more traumatic events. Although combat is one event that veterans can experience, there are other events that may lead to a veteran suffering from PTSD. These events include childhood sexual or physical abuse, serious accidents, sexual or physical assault, or a national disaster. Whenever the traumatic event occurs, the one experiencing the event may believe that his/her life is in danger.
— MAPS (@MAPS) March 24, 2016
Although most who go through a traumatic event only experience symptoms at the beginning, those who develop PTSD develop the mental stress due to whether or not they received support after the event, how strong their reactions were to the events, how close they were to the events and how much in control of the events they felt. Depending on when the trauma or traumas occurred, those who have PTSD may continue to experience symptoms for years, and the results can lead to hopelessness, despair, depression, anxiety, drinking, and drugs or other problems.
Tech Times reported that some veterans were using marijuana to treat their PTSD in spite of the limited research available on the use of marijuana to treat the condition. Some veterans have claimed that marijuana helped them to manage the anxiety, nightmares, and insomnia that resulted from their experiences after using drugs like Zoloft and Klonopin, prescription drugs which they said left them feeling more like zombies.
The VA has also cautioned against the use of marijuana, even medical marijuana, to treat PTSD because limited research has been done and marijuana has been linked to medical and psychiatric problems. Caution has been advised before using marijuana to treat PTSD symptoms, as the lack of studies and the highly addictive nature of marijuana can cause those who are using it to become addicted.
— Jane (@AskMJane) March 18, 2016
Fox 31 Denver reported that veterans in Colorado are suing to allow to use of medical marijuana for PTSD. Although it has been used to treat the symptoms of everything from cancer to cataracts, and some states allow the use of medical marijuana for PTSD, Colorado does not. Denver attorney Bob Hoban said that he is representing several veterans in the lawsuit specifically for the treatment of anxiety.
“The medical system and the medical stores should be accessible to PSTD sufferers because they provide different products, carry different products, different potencies than what’s served on the retail or recreational side.”
— MME (@MME_PORTLAND) March 18, 2016
Curt Bean, a former soldier represented in the lawsuit, served as a scout in Iraq during the current war. He said that when he returned from the war, he found himself fighting depression and anxiety. He said that he drank a lot, stayed in bed, and avoided people. Since using marijuana to treat his symptoms, he said that he felt relief.
For those considering using medical marijuana for the treatment of PTSD, it is important to remember that marijuana, even medical marijuana, is a drug. The VA has reported that it is highly addictive, and no studies have been done on the effects on veterans. Caution is advised until more information is available.
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