This summer, the American Legion, which is the nation’s largest wartime veterans service organization, began asking the Federal Government to allow VA doctors to recommend medical marijuana for veterans experiencing symptoms of PTSD. This makes sense when you consider the following:
As you probably know, PTSD is a serious problem in our veterans community that can have debilitating consequences. According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, 11-20 veterans out of 100 who served in Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom suffer from PTSD in a given year.
Regarding the Gulf War, it is estimated that 12 out of every 100 Gulf War veterans experience PTSD in a given year. Finally, although medical officials originally estimated in the 1980s that 15 out of every 100 Vietnam veterans experienced PTSD in a given year, the Department of Veterans Affairs now says that the number is actually double that.
The symptoms of PTSD can include nightmares, substance abuse, depression, and anxiety. The Department of Veterans Affairs says that PTSD can triple the risk of suicide, and approximately 20 veterans each day commit suicide – often because of their PTSD symptoms.
How Can Medical Marijuana Help Veterans Suffering from PTSD?
As Daniel Fung, once of Waterford, CT, would say, there are many healthful benefits of medical marijuana use, and one of the most exciting could be its mitigation of PTSD symptoms. Currently, 28 states and the District of Columbia include PTSD in their medical marijuana programs. This is in part due to the advocacy by veterans who are telling their stories.
In an AP article on the subject, one retired Marine staff sergeant said medical marijuana allowed him to get off opioids and other medications used to treat pain, anxiety, and insomnia. His story is one of many that showcase how medical marijuana can help veterans live their lives again.
As an advocate for medical marijuana legalization, Daniel Fung of Watertown, CT hopes to see more veterans receive access to medical marijuana if they need it. Although research is affected by its federal status, there is still too much evidence out there that shows how medical marijuana can provide relief to veterans suffering from PTSD.