Veterans are key as surge of states OK medical pot for PTSD
According to a new study conducted suggests the fact that the common first-line treatments for PTSD in veterans may not be working after all, as once thought by medical experts. According to recently collected data, around 200,000 Vietnam War veterans still suffer from PTSD and 13% of Iraq or Afghanistan veterans are suffering from the disease without any successful treatment. The rate of PTSD grew from 2004 to 2012 in deployed troops by 400%.
Considering the statistics, it is safe to say that alternative medicine is the key to provide a chance to the veterans to be treated for PTSD. More than 28 states in US have legalized the medial marijuana to be used as treatment for PTSD. And in the latest development, Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced recently that he has signed legislation making New York the first state to allow therapeutic pot as PTSD treatment. Moreover, there has been also an increase in the evident advocacy from the veterans groups.
PTSD or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is found in people who went through traumatic experience having direct danger to their lives. For such disease, antidepressants and benzodiazepines are mostly recommended to treat its symptoms. However, people have actually, started using cannabis for PTSD, which they consider natural alternative. Medical marijuana has positive effects on the following PTSD symptoms:
- Severe anxiety
- Lack of appetite
- Anger issues
- Depression or general sadness
According to the researchers, cannabis works by removing associations to painful memories. And according to the advocates of medical marijuana, side effects of cannabis are nominal as compared to the side effects of pharmaceutical drugs that are used for PTSD treatment.
Veterans of war who are vouching for the use of medical marijuana as treatment for PTSD argues that use of cannabis can reduce suicide rate among soldiers who come back after facing horrors of war. According to Joe Plenzler, a spokesperson for the group claims that medical marijuana according to the men and women who used it.
According to him, veterans have stopped using opioids and antidepressants and replaced them with marijuana, which helps alleviate chronic pain and reduce muscle spasms in multiple sclerosis. As retired marine staff sergeant, Mark DiPasquale claims that the drug freed him from 17 opioids, anti-anxiety pills and other medications.
Another problem that the veterans are most likely to face is that most of the veterans rely on federal Veterans Affairs Department for their health care, which does not cover for medical marijuana even though it is legal now in 29 states. Matt Gaetz, a Republican belonging to Florida has join Democrats in efforts to recast the government’s stance on Marijuana. Along with Darren Soto, a Democrat of Florida, Mr Gaetz co-authored the bill that pushes the drug down to Schedule 3.
PTSD is a crippling disorder that can be treated more effectively and without the side effects, that makes opioids more harmful then useful. Need of the hour is extensive research be done on marijuana’s ability to treat PTSD and get it on the legal drugs list, especially for the veterans who need it the most.