Medical marijuana and its use on veterans who struggle with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) has been a source of much discussion and controversy.
While medical marijuana is legal in some states, there hasn’t been enough research on how it directly affects PTSD. We know of cannabis’ success due to the incredible stories that vets and their families share about their experiences with the herb and how it has helped them deal with the disorder, reintegrating them back into civilian life.
Studies suggest that around 20 percent of veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan suffer from some form of PTSD. In 2012, statistics said that 22 veterans of the Armed Forces committed suicide every day. Antidepressants like Zoloft and Paxil, which both come with a serious batch of side effects, have been the go-to drugs for these patients, and only recently has marijuana become a serious option for them, mainly due to the Veterans Equal Access Act approved in 2014. This law allows veterans to obtain medical prescriptions for cannabis, something that used to be impossible. VA doctors weren’t even allowed to discuss medical marijuana with their patients.
Several universities and facilities have been conducting research and studies that have provided some information on the subject. A study on rats in Germany demonstrated that exposure to cannabis helped the subjects with fear management, the most influential factor of PTSD. The research also suggests that while cannabis does help with fear and with managing it, prolonged exposure to the herb may make brain cells less sensitive to the chemicals that are helping in the first place, making medical cannabis a temporary option for PTSD vets.
While there’s still much ground to be covered for medical marijuana, negative opinions and taboos regarding the drug have started to change due to the large amounts of evidence that suggest that cannabis is the best option when it comes to veterans that suffer from PTSD.
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