PTSD and Marijuana

Usually, we like to be light hearted and keep a sense of joy in what we do. Warning this will get depressing. However, we need to discuss this problem. Turning away from it means turning our back on the people that support our country in our most critical moments.

I want to apologize to our veterans and all those that are in the emergency support services. Before writing this, I had no idea how blind I was, our lack of dialog is the bigger issue. That we do not see the troubles being faced by those we rely on the most. So, this is a weighty topic mainly because the people living with PTSD are our heroes. Military, paramedics and firefighters often make up the bulk of those affected by PTSD.

The First Study

The first controlled study has had its issues ranging from bad quality test material. And this is what caused John Hopkins University to bail on the study. As they did not want to risk their federal funding by causing a fuss, and I can’t blame them federal funding counts. John Hopkins is the leading university when it comes to research spending a record 2.3 billion dollars, though not all of it is federal funds.

The issue goes deeper than it may seem. The Doctor set to lead the Arizona half of the research, Dr. Sue Sisley, was fired from the university, allegedly as retribution for her support of medical marijuana research. The loss of the first location at John Hopkins University, as well as the head researcher at the second site, stalled the study which was due to start in 2014. Despite all the troubles the study points to the need for further research for those living with PTSD.

For our Veterans

In July of 2010, the Department of Veterans Affairs began allowing patients to use medical marijuana in the states that have legalized its medical use. It will not, however, allow department doctors to prescribe marijuana. Under the previous department rules, veterans could be denied their pain medications if they are found to be using illegal drugs.

On the VA site, the line is those using medical marijuana is a Substance Use Disorder (SUD), and to be treated in conjunction with PTSD. Even though on their site it lists Pharmacotherapy and benzodiazepines as a treatment for PTSD and SUD, it also states that they have found no evidence that it treats the core symptoms of PTSD. So, it is no longer a basis for denial of services.

Civilian population

The civilian population has it a little better. These are our fire fighters, police, and paramedics who have PTSD. In more than 26 states medical marijuana is available for those that are affected. Those suffering outside of those states currently have no legal options, since no pharmaceutical option for PTSD exists at this time.

It is hard to face the facts that so many of the people we rely on in emergency situations are unable to get the help they need with a condition caused by their profession. I can only give massive respect to those that have chosen these professions. Knowing that they have no access to relief is troubling as these services are the backbone of our country.

In conclusion

I know that was hard and if you stuck with me all the way through, thank you. Hearing the problem is the first step on the path to addressing the brokenness of the system. Please, even if you are not a smoker yourself, support medical marijuana for those that need it.



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