Veterans suffering from Post Traumatic Stress disorder (PTSD) across the country are campaigning to obtain safe access to medical marijuana. Many veterans complain that they would rather use medical marijuana to treat PTSD than over the counter pills or drugs. PTSD is an anxiety disorder that occurs in the aftermath of a traumatic event, which in many cases for veterans typically happened in the field of battle. In recent years, medical marijuana has been shown to help improve PTSD symptoms, yet many states still don’t allow it as a qualifying condition for which it can be prescribed.
The movement to change this stance on medical marijuana has begun to take shape. “The Freedom to Choose” campaign has recently been launched by the Drug Policy Alliance, elected officials and veterans to target physicians, lawmakers and employers to recognize medical marijuana as a safe and effective alternative to other PTSD medications that may cause side unwanted side effects or are ineffective.
Although many states still do not allow the use of medical marijuana to treat PTSD, states such as Connecticut, California, Delaware, Massachusetts, and most recently Oregon, New Mexico and Maine have approved PTSD provisions in their state laws. Elected officials who openly support the campaign include New Mexico lawmakers such as Congresswoman Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) and State Representative Moe Maestras (D) from New Mexico, who are urging other states to keep PTSD as a listed condition for which medical marijuana can be prescribed.
Currently, veterans rely on a framework of care for PTSD that has remained unchanged since 1980. Unfortunately for the millions of veterans across the country, federal agencies are unable to recognize the potential benefits that medical marijuana can provide for those suffering with PTSD and their families. Hopefully for advocates of medical marijuana to treat PTSD, “The Freedom to Choose” campaign is the first step in the battle to help veterans who risked their lives in battle for the same system that may be stifling their medical options now.