Congressman’s Prescription for Vets: A Joint a Day to Keep the PTSD Away

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Getting medical marijuana for veterans wasn’t a burning issue in the last session of the House of Representatives, so Congressman Earl Blumenauer is putting a bill to legalize it back on the agenda.

The Oregon Democrat, one of Congress’ more weed-friendly legislators, wants to remove a U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs restriction that keeps soldiers from being given medical marijuana, even in states where it’s legal.

He’s reintroducing a bill, called the Veterans Equal Access Act, which didn’t pass last year. It’s part of a body of marijuana legislative reform the bow-tie clad Congressman has been pushing forth. In this case, the proposed law has been passed around and gotten bi-partisan sponsorship again.

His argument is that more than a fifth of the 2.8 million veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and depression. But because federal laws and regulations about marijuana are from the Reefer Madness era, they can’t get access to something that may help them heal.

The VA’s rules prohibit doctors from prescribing it, and it can withhold medication from veterans who test positive for the presence of marijuana in their bodies. That forces veterans “into the black market to self-medicate…And it pushes both doctors and their patients toward drugs that are potentially more harmful and more addictive. It’s insane and it has to stop,” Blumenauer said.

That’s in spite of a growing body of research that shows marijuana can help with PTSD. A study published last year found that up to 75 percent of PTSD sufferers who smoked weed saw a reduction in their symptoms.

Indeed, the VA’s chosen method of treating PTSD and depression seems to be little more than overloading patients with antidepressants and opiates that run the risk of becoming addiction. Between 2001 and 2013, veterans’ prescriptions for hydrocodone, oxycodone, methadone, and morphine almost tripled, according to a report by the Center for Investigative Reporting.

Even more troubling: the report found that veterans died nearly twice as often from opiate overdoses than the rest of the population. So doctors ought to have the right to prescribe medical marijuana, Blumenauer said. The congressman is on record as to just how many overdoses have been caused by marijuana: “Spoiler alert–it’s zero.”

Of course, one way to prevent PTSD in troops would be to not start wars in the first place.  But since that’s not happening, Blumenauer’s prescription may be one solution for this generation of veterans.

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9 responses to “Congressman’s Prescription for Vets: A Joint a Day to Keep the PTSD Away”

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  2. oh_look says:

    It’s sad that the answer to most problems in America is one kind of drug or another.

  3. Legalized Torture says:

    I’m no expert on how to treat CANNON FODDER but I believe that giving your soldiers drugs might make them start questioning the sheer immorality and degeneracy of their leaders. Keep them instead on a steady diet of CNN, Food Stamps & College Debt Loans.
    Hey, it’s worked FINE so far.

    • tennjl says:

      No it hasn’t what the hell ever it was that you were trying to say. Severe PTSD is known to cause fibromyalgia type of body pain. I have both and know several other vets that have it too. When I could not get pain relief I was so miserable that I thought of suicide and came close. A friend turned me on to weed and it saved my life more than once. It helped the pain, depression, my appetite and sleep. I used it off and on for 40 years with no ill effects. I’d give up my bag of pills today if it were legal. This from an ex Army combat medic.

  4. ICFubar says:

    I’m no expert on PTSD but layering over emotional and psychological pain with more drugs seems at best a poor idea but in the short run may keep the pain at bay enough until real help works. Those suffering have to make a difficult transition back to a world where they have something to care about and that cares about them. Get those vets that would want one a dog and pay for that animals up keep and perhaps the dog will pull that vet back to where he cares again and may help more than medical gange.(?)

    • oh_look says:

      Also cats are therapeutic. And not many people bring up meditation. Of course, some Ptsd is very severe and sometimes a drug is needed, but U.S. has gone crazy on drugs, from illegal to legal. pure and simple crazy.

    • ICFubar says:

      Whatever is needed should be given as too many young vets are wasted by terrible memories or war addiction. Whether it’s Ptsd therapy groups to pet animals to drugs for the short term this is a disorder that is recoverable from. to the degree that life becomes quite livable and enjoyable again. Saving these young lives is what humanity should be about.

    • tennjl says:

      I was given I don’t know how many of those drugs and all they did was make life worse. A couple of them made me suicidal and homicidal. I had to just keep telling myself it was the drug. I told the Dr about the effect and was handed a script refill. Tell me they give a hoot about us.

    • ICFubar says:

      Don’t let them win. You do this by reclaiming your life as an honorable member of society. You are correct in that ‘they’ don’t give a hoot about you but those around you do, even if they can’t understand what you have been through. Somehow you must reconnect. Forcing yourself to give to others in small ways might be of help. I heard of one vet who would make his teenage kids lunches. When they said they could do that for themselves his reply was that he needed to do it….as the reconnect. Your life lays before you and it is worth living as a testament that war is a racket that simply destroys but that you are its survivor and have won over its influence by living a good life.Best of everything to you.