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Veterans with PTSD - Medical Marijuana Treatment Options

  • Date: 2014/02/01 (Rev. 2017/06/28)
  • Thomas C. Weiss - Disabled World
  • Synopsis : Information regarding veterans diagnosed with PTSD and the use of medical marijuana as a treatment option.

Main Document

The number of veterans seeking disability compensation for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) has increased by nearly 80% in recent years and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is currently providing more than $4 billion in compensation to veterans for the condition.

The term used to describe organically grown marijuana in countries and/or states that have legalized the medicinal use of marijuana, abbreviated as MMJ. Marijuana can be very effective in treating a number of illnesses and diseases. Some of the more common conditions and symptoms treated with medical marijuana include chronic pain, nausea, glaucoma, seizure disorders, cancer, diabetes, muscle spasms, and many more. Currently, 13 U.S. states allow doctors to prescribe medical marijuana to patients suffering from ailments ranging from AIDS to glaucoma. Tens of thousands of seriously ill Americans are now physician-certified users of medical marijuana.

The surge in claims by Vietnam War veterans and other former military personnel has revealed inconsistencies in how veterans are rated for PTSD, as well as in compensation levels. The VA's Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) asked the Institute of Medicine and National Research Council to convene a committee of experts to address a number of issues surrounding its administration of veterans' compensation for PTSD.

The report issued as a result, 'PTSD Compensation and Military Service,' recommends ways to fix shortcomings in the VA's program for evaluating and compensating veterans for service-connected PTSD and to restore confidence that the agency is compensating every veteran fairly. The report also addresses questions concerning how long after a traumatic event PTSD may arise and how to better manage PTSD claims related to sexual harassment or assault during military service. Some interesting facts concerning veterans and PTSD include:

  • Around 20% of veterans returning home from the Middle East are being diagnosed with PTSD.
  • Doctors at the VA recognize the benefits of medical marijuana as a type of PTSD treatment, yet refuse to recommend it as a treatment option.
  • Medical research has shown that marijuana has been highly successful in treating PTSD and its symptoms. Veterans should ask their VA doctor to discuss its use with them and advise them on the medicinal use of marijuana.
  • Dr. Phillip Leveque is not only a combat veteran, but a Doctor, a Pharmacologist, and a Forensic Toxicologist. He is an authority on treatment of PTSD and its symptoms with marijuana. Dr. Leveque strongly recommends the use of marijuana to veterans who experience PTSD.

Every veteran deserves any and all types of medical and psychological assistance. Veterans should ask their VA doctor or health care provider to discuss the symptoms they are experiencing and advise them in regards to treatment. If you do not ask you might get passed over and miss treatment opportunities. Do not fear discussing the medicinal use of marijuana, many veterans are using it at this time. One of the difficulties with PTSD is that the readiness or need for treatment might emerge years after the trauma. Due to this fact, veterans and their family members need long-term treatment options and long-term access to treatment - even if they do not experience symptoms at the time they are discharged.

Twenty states as of the year 2013, as well as the District of Columbia, have medical marijuana laws on the books, but America is still a long way from generally accepting marijuana as a medicine. If we are serious about seeking an effective remedy for PTSD and serving the hundreds of thousands of veterans with the disorder, this level of acceptance must change. It is not a guaranteed solution, yet sufficient evidence exists showing that marijuana is a treatment that needs to be pursued further.

In the State of New Mexico, where PTSD was added as a qualifying condition to the state's medical marijuana program after an evaluation of the research available, more people use marijuana for PTSD than for any other condition. Veterans, if provided with the opportunity to use marijuana to alleviate PTSD, would most likely choose to pursue the opportunity. If it were any other drug, researchers would probably be both organizing and conducting trials as this article is being written. Marijuana; however, is not a new chemical compound created by a pharmaceutical company. It is marijuana and the anti-marijuana forces within the federal government are powerful.

While marijuana was listed as a medicine in the U.S. Pharmacopoeia prior to its prohibition and was widely used for dozens of conditions, Congress chose to temporarily place it in Schedule I in the year 1970 pending the outcome of a government study. The study, produced by a national commission on drug abuse, ultimately concluded that marijuana's harmful effects were so limited for light to moderate users that it should not even be a criminal offense to use it. Unfortunately, its status as a Schedule I drug remains unchanged today.

Officials argue that marijuana needs to be kept illegal because it is a, 'dangerous,' Schedule I drug. These officials refuse to move it out of Schedule I and claim there is no evidence that marijuana has medical value. Officials refuse to allow private entities to cultivate marijuana for research to demonstrate that it does indeed have medical value, and have set up seemingly endless obstacles for any researchers who desire to conduct potentially favorable studies. Without research there is no evidence and no rescheduling, maintaining the perspective that marijuana is dangerous.

When former and current service women and men are seriously suffering, to the point where some have even taken their own lives, we at least owe it to them to explore any treatment options - to include marijuana. It is well past time for government officials to take America's veterans off of the medical marijuana battlefield.

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