Veteran PTSD - The Cannabis Cure

Updated: 2 days ago

Marijuana Use for PTSD Among Veterans


The use of Marijuana for medical conditions is an issue of growing concern. Many Veterans use marijuana to reduce symptoms of PTSD, and many states specifically approve medical marijuana for PTSD. However, research has not been conducted on the safety or effectiveness of medical marijuana for PTSD. There is no evidence currently that suggests marijuana is an effective treatment for PTSD. This research indicates that marijuana can be harmful to individuals with PTSD.


Epidemiology


Marijuana use has increased over the past decade. In 2013, a study found that 19.8 million people reported using marijuana in the past month, with 8.1 million using it almost every day (1). Daily use has increased by 60% in the prior decade (1). Several factors are connected with increased risk of marijuana use, involving diagnosis of PTSD (2), social anxiety disorder (3), other substance use, mainly through youth (4), and peer substance abuse (5).


Cannabis Use Disorders among Veterans Using VA Health Care


There have currently been no studies of marijuana use conducted on the overall Veteran population. The data we have gathered comes from Veterans using VA health care, who may not represent the Veteran population overall. When considering this subset of veterans seen in the VA health care with co-existent of substance use disorders (SUD) and PTSD, cannabis use disorder has been the most diagnosed SUD since 2009. Veterans in the VA with PTSD and SUD diagnosed with cannabis use disorder increased from 13.0% in FY 2002 to 22.7% in FY 2014. As of FY 2014, more than 40,000 Veterans with PTSD and SUD are seen in VA diagnosed with cannabis use disorder.


People in 33 States can use medical Marijuana. Why Haven't Veterans Been able to Use It for PTSD?


Dogs have been prescribed medical marijuana, but veterans still cannot get the drug from the Veterans Affairs.


  • Several Veterans groups are working on getting medical marijuana approved as a form of treatment for PTSD.

  • The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) still refuses to provide marijuana to veterans because it is listed as a Schedule I drug.

  • Many Veterans groups want to get that designation changed and have more research conducted on the benefits of medical marijuana.


Doug Distaso served his nation in the United States Air Force for 21 years.


He had the opportunity to command joint aviation, maintenance, and support personnel globally and served as the primary legislative affairs lead for two U.S. Special Operations Command leaders.


However, after an Air Force plane accident left Distaso with a traumatic brain injury, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and chronic pain, he was given more than a dozen prescription medications by doctors at the VA.


"I was taking everything from opioids, antidepressants, benzodiazepines, and sleeping pills," Distaso stated. "Like countless other veterans, the cocktail of drugs that I was prescribed quickly threw my life into a turmoil, affecting my ability to perform at work, while straining my relationships at home."


Distaso states that living his life in a prescription drug-induced, zombie-like state left his wife and family begging with him on Christmas morning to come back to them.


"What brought me back to my family and career was medical cannabis. Cannabis helped me get off the pills and regain control of every facet of my life," Distaso said.


Unfortunately, for millions of veterans who depend solely on their VA healthcare benefits, federal law ties their VA doctors' hands. It harshly denies these veterans access to needed medical cannabis as a treatment option.


Distaso currently works for his fellow veterans as the Veterans Cannabis Project founder, which advocates for veterans' cannabis access, education to policymakers, and support for veterans seeking treatment options beyond the opiates and other prescriptive and addictive drugs they obtain from the VA.


It is time for Congress to approve the VA to research the effects of cannabis on familiar veterans' health issues and allow doctors at the VA to recommend and assist veterans in accessing medical cannabis.


The VA denial of cannabis


Cannabis use is still branded as harmful to veterans on the VA's website.


"Cannabis use for medical disorders is an issue of growing concern," the VA states.


Cannabis also remains on the Schedule I list under the Controlled Substances Act, the same as heroin.


According to the VA website, "measured studies have not been fully conducted to evaluate the safety or effectiveness of medical marijuana for PTSD. Thus, no proper evidence that marijuana is an effective treatment for PTSD has been collected."


Conversely, the tide has turned nationally in terms of the attitude toward marijuana, especially for medicinal purposes.


Despite the unattainability of medicinal marijuana at the VA, veterans nationally are using cannabis to deal with their PTSD symptoms of anxiety, depression, and chronic pain.


Recent scientific studies are showing the medicinal properties of cannabis.


The VA website downplays the approval of marijuana in the United States, stating that "several" states have accepted the use of medical marijuana and/or recreational marijuana.


In all actuality, it's far more than "several."


Thirty-three states have enacted medical marijuana laws that allow eligible people to obtain or grow cannabis to treat various conditions.


Additionally, 15 states have decriminalized marijuana, and 11 states have legalized recreational marijuana.


A recent poll conducted at Politico and Harvard's T.H. Chan School of Public Health shows that Americans feel that marijuana is much less harmful than alcohol, tobacco, or e-cigarettes.


In the survey, one in five Americans state they believe marijuana is very harmful to people. Twice as many stated the same about alcohol, 52 percent characterized e-cigarettes as very toxic, and 80 percent indicated tobacco cigarettes are hazardous.


And more than six in ten U.S. adults said they favor changing federal law to legalize marijuana for recreational use.


Another recent survey shows strong majority support among Americans for legalizing marijuana.

Also, almost all Democratic presidential candidates agree to remove marijuana from the federal list of controlled substances.


And veterans and the American public overwhelmingly support medicinal cannabis for veterans.


In the 2017 American Legion survey, 92 percent of veterans said they supported research into the use of medical cannabis, and 83 percent support legalizing medical cannabis.


A new study on PTSD and cannabis


A new study concludes that cannabis may already be helping Canadians cope with depression and suicide in people suffering from PTSD.


This study was conducted on more than 24,000 Canadians, which concluded that people experiencing PTSD and not medicating with cannabis are far more likely to suffer from severe depression and have suicidal thoughts than those who used cannabis over the past year.


The study provides initial evidence that cannabis use may contribute to decreasing the connection between PTSD, severe depressive, and suicidal states.


This research states that there are limited treatment options for PTSD, so many patients have acted by medicating with cannabis to alleviate their symptoms. However, this is the first time that outcomes from a nationwide survey have exposed the potential benefits of treating the disorder with cannabis.


This research documented the first relationships between PTSD, cannabis use, and severe mental health outcomes in the veteran population. The big question is: If a Canadian health survey looked at PTSD and cannabis with such a convincing conclusion, where is the VA on this issue, which affects as many as thirty percent of the American veterans who served in the wars since September 2001?


Veterans group supports medical cannabis


While the VA still stands on the statement that it is not allowed to do research; however, this is not actually true.


They just have to coordinate with outside agencies to conduct it.


Only one-third of veterans mentioned cannabis to their doctor because of the stigma attached to marijuana use.


Veterans have a legitimate fear of reprisals at VA and in the workforce, where there have been programs that they can lose their jobs for testing positive for marijuana.


We have found that in different parts of the country where the use of cannabis is less stigmatized open conversation can be conducted with the VA physicians. However, in parts of the country where it is still illegal, providers are more skeptical or judgmental. It shuts the veteran up and is then dangerous as the veterans do not communicate openly with their provider.


Why the VA will not budge


The biggest hurdle for veterans seeking cannabis from the VA is that it is still on that Schedule I list of controlled substances at the federal level.


This means that cannabis "no acceptable medical use and has a more significant potential for abuse and risk for arrest," as identified by the federal government.


The VA considers any form of marijuana illegal. This means veterans cannot get help accessing medical marijuana from their VA doctors, relying on their own means to obtain any.


The recent congressional hearing explored bills that would allow for extended access to medical marijuana for veterans. VA representatives confirmed their position opposing any policies as long as marijuana remained illegal at the federal level.


Many agencies are "committed to improving treatment options for veterans and supports research into potential treatment options that may prove valuable."


Specific federal law restricts the VA's research with Schedule I controlled substances, including marijuana.


Before conducting any VA research using a Schedule, I controlled substance would involve lengthy communications and coordination with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Food and Drug Administration (FDA), National Institutes of Health, National Institute on Drug Abuse, and the Health and Human Services.


Particular requirements include reviewing an investigational new drug application and approval of the research protocol by the FD, obtaining the medical drug through NIDA and the nationally approved medical marijuana production laboratory, and an investigator registration and site licensure by the DEA. These restrictions that are contained in federal law are clear. Research is allowed but must be done with the identified federal entities. If Congress wants more federal research into Schedule I controlled substances such as marijuana, it can eliminate these restrictions.


Multiple sources explain that Congress and the President can reschedule marijuana to make it accessible to veterans and make it researchable by the VA.


Former VA secretary wants more research


The Former VA secretary says that the VA should study cannabis.


"It is a little bit strange that marijuana is Schedule I while cocaine is Schedule II," stated the former VA secretary. "To say there is completely no medicinal value or application in cannabinoids is not true at all." "There is already an FDA-approved drug on the market, which is a cannabinoid, to treat pediatric epilepsy."


The FDA approved Epidiolex in June 2018; the first drug derived in the U.S. from the cannabis plant to reach local pharmacies.


He added that when he ran the VA, he was told the agency could not discuss cannabis with veterans and could not do research.


But he discovered later that this was not true.


"We can talk to our veterans about it. We just cannot prescribe the cannabis," says the former VA Secretary.


"It is possible to do research at the VA, but the barriers and bureaucracy are lengthy and painful. I can now more effectively articulate that Congress is the most likely player to streamline this research. And yes, it needs to be done."


Medical marijuana research


The Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research (CMCR) is the nation's oldest research center for the safety and efficacy of cannabis.


CMCR recently announced research to explore the effectiveness and safety of medical cannabis as an alternative treatment for schizophrenia, insomnia, alcohol dependence, rheumatoid arthritis, and anxiety linked to anorexia. Research done by the CMCR has also shown that cannabis can be useful for relieving pain, but research has not been conducted for studying cannabis concerning PTSD. This center is directly linked to the VA's regional office located in San Diego.


The legislation is not moving


Certain Congress members have tried to push for new legislation to make medical marijuana available to veterans at the VA without success.


Here are a few bills that have not made any progress:


1) The Veterans Equal Access Act allows the VA health providers to recommend medical marijuana to their veteran patients and provide the required paperwork to enroll in state marijuana programs.


2) The VA Medicinal Cannabis Research Act of 2018 supports the scientific and medical research of medicinal cannabis for veterans diagnosed with TBI, PTSD, chronic pain, and other injuries by clarifying that research of medicinal cannabis is within the authority of the VA.


3) The Veterans Medical Marijuana, Safe Harbor Act is an act that would enable VA physicians to issue medical cannabis recommendations under the laws of states where medical cannabis is legal.


4) The Safe Harbor Act would require the VA to conduct studies on the effects of medical marijuana on veterans in pain related to their treatment programs involving medical marijuana approved by states, veterans' access to these programs, and a reduction in veteran opioid abuse.


OK, for dogs but not veterans?


It is ridiculous that Americans in most states now have access to medicinal marijuana, but America's veterans do not.


I have a non-veteran friend, and he receives medical marijuana for his dog's anxiety. He was shocked when he discovered that dogs could get medicinal marijuana, but veterans cannot get the same treatment at the VA.


Washington, D.C. is an echo chamber of circular logic. We are convinced there is a national craving for this issue on medical cannabis for veterans. Still, politicians only seem to hear themselves and continue to assume that there is not. We must change this view and make it known.


Cannabis May Help Veterans With PTSD


After 17 years in the military and deploying to almost every terrorist filled location on Earth, former Green Beret Adam Smith discovered that while his combat battles had ended, his personal one still lingered.


"I had a hard time with anxiety, sleeping, hyper-vigilance, and symptoms that revolve around PTSD," Smith, remembering his difficult transition to civilian life, starting in 2015.


"I found myself hopeless and in an awful place," said Smith, who also suffers from the effects of several past brain injuries. "The bottom of this black hole was me sitting on a couch with a pistol in my mouth."


Thankfully, Smith did not go through with it and said that in the years since, what's helped sustain him is the lessened joint pain, better sleep, and moderated his constant sensation of always feeling "switched-on," has been … self-medicating with cannabis.


Smith is just the kind of veteran lawmaker that is trying to help with two U.S. House bills that approved at the House Committee of Veterans Affairs on March 12:


H.R. 712, the VA Medicinal Cannabis Research Act of 2019, directing the Veterans Administration to research marijuana's impact on physical conditions related to active duty.


H.R. 1647, the Veterans Equal Access Act of 2019, allows physicians to complete state-legal medical marijuana proposal paperwork due to VA doctors currently being prohibited from doing this, forcing veterans to turn to private-network physicians.


Irritatingly Smith states, "When it comes to veterans and veterans' rights, the game of politics should not exist."


Smith has publicly talked about his avoidance of Veterans Administration treatment because of its chosen response to suffering veterans. That response includes treating veterans' symptoms with anxiety meds, sleeping pills, and high blood pressure meds and does not necessarily treat the total patient.


Smith finally realized in 2015 when he tried marijuana for the first time, alongside a military buddy who said marijuana had sharply reduced his seizures and improved his sleep. This may not display hard evidence to support cannabis as a solution for PTSD; many veterans swear by it.


Post-traumatic stress is no joke; Post-traumatic stress is something that's hitting our community in an epidemic. The social answer to deal with the trauma is to drink and drug our way into distraction or sedation, so we do not have to feel the pain anymore. That should not be the methodology."


Many Americans agree. A recent poll of 5,369 U.S. adults found support for CBD treatment, with 53 percent of those polled agreeing that medical dispensaries should be considered an "essential service."


What seems here like a cultural shift may have as much to do with the current anxiety engendered by the coronavirus crisis (which has spiked cannabis sales) as it does the different sort of pain veterans and first responders experience.


Marijuana is a top treatment for veterans' pain, PTSD, but the cost is a barrier


According to recent survey data, military veterans are using cannabis to treat chronic pain, post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, and depression, among other ailments.

But the cost of medical marijuana is a barrier since it is not covered by insurance, even though veterans are using cannabis as an alternative to pharmaceuticals.


Final results from the 2019 Veterans Health and Medical Cannabis Study, which looked at 201 veterans in Massachusetts and 565 respondents nationwide, were presented at the Cannabis Advancement Series.


The study, which was performed March 3 through Dec. 31, was conducted by Marion McNabb, Steven White, Stephen Mandile, and Ann Brum.


Over half of the 201 Massachusetts veterans who completed the survey through outreach by veterans' groups, marijuana dispensaries, and social media sites were age 50 or older. Most, 54 percent had served in the Army. The sample was overwhelmingly male, 90 percent and 84 percent were white, non-Hispanic.


Chronic pain, anxiety, and PTSD are the top medical conditions facing veterans. Nearly one in three, 30 percent, of the veteran participants, were currently or homeless in the past. Ninety-one percent of participants reported using medical marijuana. Recreational marijuana was used by 59 percent.


Results from 2019 Veterans Health and Medical Cannabis Study


Top health conditions Massachusetts veterans are facing


As reported by 201 Massachusetts survey participants in the 2019 Veterans Health and


Medical Cannabis Study

37% Chronic pain

25% PTSD

10% Anxiety


Primary health conditions Massachusetts veterans find cannabis most helpful for treating

36% Chronic pain

24% PTSD

11% Anxiety

6% Depression


Top barriers to accessing cannabis reported by Massachusetts veterans

55% Money to purchase prod money

37% Money required to get a medical card

33% Access to the right products

33% Stigma

26% Owning a firearm

21% Workplace testing or other policies


Massachusetts veterans report cannabis allows them to:

89% Experience a much better quality of life

79% Experience much less psychological symptoms

69% Experience much less physical symptoms

44% Use alcohol much less now

40% Use prior medication (non-opioid) much less now

23% Use tobacco much less now

22% Use opioids much less now


Many veterans responded to the survey reporting that cannabis provided relief for their primary medical troubles, and 77% said that they were actively trying to reduce the use of their over-the-counter or prescription medications with medical cannabis.


The top symptoms being treated with medical cannabis included: pain, 51 percent; sleep problems, 50 percent; depression or mood, 45 percent; anxiety or panic attacks, 41 percent; and aggression, 24 percent.


"It surprised me, but it is not that surprising," McNabb stated. "They are consumers of medical cannabis. They are finding relief in medical cannabis."

The survey's findings brought additional attention to previously published research on medical marijuana by Staci Gruber.


Gruber stated that almost all research on the impact of cannabis on the brain and cognitive functioning comes from recreational users, most of whom began using the drug as teenagers while their brains were still developing.


Studies conducted by Gruber have found that after three months of treatment, medical marijuana patients demonstrated an improvement in task performance accompanied by changes in brain activation patterns measured in imaging. Further, after treatment, brain activation patterns appeared more similar to those in healthy controls, who weren't using marijuana than pretreatment with medical marijuana.


Gruber said her research suggested that medical marijuana use may affect the brain differently compared to the brain impacts among recreational marijuana users.


Consistent with the veterans' survey, Gruber's study also found medical marijuana patients reported improvements in how they felt and notably decreased their use of prescription drugs, predominantly opioid and benzodiazepines, after three months of treatment.


Mandile became an advocate for medical marijuana after being seriously wounded in Iraq while deployed in 2005. His Veterans Affairs doctors put him on 57 medications, which included nine opioids. In 2013 he attempted suicide.


In 2014, his wife's ultimate goal for Mandile was to wean himself from prescription drugs by using marijuana, which he accomplished in only five months.


He formed a nonprofit organization called the Alternative Treatment for Veterans to advance awareness of medical marijuana and work with dispensaries to offer discounts to veterans who have been rated 100 percent disabled by the VA. The product 11 marijuana dispensaries across the state have picked up the product discounts testified on proposed legislation, H. 4274, that would allow veterans to use their VA paperwork to qualify for a medical marijuana card instead of paying hundreds of dollars for the state-required card.


The 2017 state law legalizing the adult-use of marijuana called for the Cannabis Advisory Board to make recommendations to the Cannabis Control Commission on related costs associated with the purchase of medical marijuana by U.S. military veterans insured through the VA, and to make recommendations on improving cost-effective access. But the study and recommendations were never made by the Sept. 2018 deadline, Mandile said.


"As much as legislators can feel the connection with anecdotal stories," Mandile said, "they needed something more concrete, more data-driven."


This data found Massachusetts veterans spending an average of $79 a week on cannabis. Nearly three-quarters, 72 percent, purchase cannabis from regulated dispensaries, while one out of five, 19 percent, grow their money


The money to purchase marijuana products and get a medical marijuana card was the top two topics reported in the veterans' survey.


DAV - The Cannabis Cure


DAV requests more research on medical cannabis as an alternative treatment for veterans with chronic pain, PTSD, and TBIs


Like many veterans, military service rigors have taken a toll on Air Force veteran Jarid Watson's body. He is not sure when the injury occurred—perhaps during the 12 years of physical training or while loading and unloading cargo planes—but at some point, the ball joint of his hip tore his labrum and damaged the surrounding cartilage.


The injury brought on Watson's chronic pain and eventually led to his medical retirement in 2016. It also severely affected his sleep, which negatively influenced his motivation and mood. As a father, husband, student, and entrepreneur, something had to be done to fight this pain and restore being able to achieve a good night's rest to restore himself, his family, career, and studies.


For Watson, there was only one choice.


"As soon as I knew my military career was ending and dealing with this chronic pain was in my future, I considered medical cannabis as an option because I'm not going to take pain pills and potentially get addicted.'


Watson's reluctance toward pain pills stems from his personal experience. As a native of northeast Ohio, the Afghanistan War veteran lost two close friends to opioid overdoses and has witnessed how addiction can destroy individuals and their families.


"That area has been devastated with opiate and heroin use. That is tearing families apart in this country. It is killing people," Watson said.


The National Center for Health Statistics released a report in 2017 stating that there was a national opioid crisis killing more than 42,000 Americans in 2016. Alarmingly, a 2013 analysis by the Center for Investigative Reporting found that opioid prescriptions for veterans spiked 270 percent over 12 years, while a 2011 Department of Veterans Affairs study found that veterans were twice as likely to die as compared to the rest of the population from an opioid overdose.


The VA also estimates that 68,000 veterans, 13 % of the total veteran population currently taking opioids, have an opioid-use disorder. According to VA officials, doctors continue to prescribe them for chronic pain, a condition that 60 percent of veterans sustained from deployments to the Middle East and 50 percent of older veterans.


"Sixty percent of what the VA treats falls into the category of chronic pain, and the VA system is not designed to do much more than push pills, and those pills are not working," said Nick Etten, founder and executive director of Veterans Cannabis Project.


The story of Air Force veterans Jarid and Priscilla Watson helps display the effectiveness of medical cannabis. Jarid uses medical cannabis to help treat his chronic hip pain rather than using opioids pharmaceuticals, which he feels are dangerous. "He's much happier, more productive, and more motivated in his everyday life," said Priscilla, noting the difference.


Etten, a former Navy SEAL, also noted that medicinal cannabis is an effective treatment for the wounds he sustained in the Middle East—PTSD and TBI. He named pain, sleep, and anxiety as the primary symptoms veterans deal with concerning their service-connected injuries.


"Cannabis is proving to be safe and effective in treating my injuries," he said. "That's where it can be transformative and a potential game-changer."


"Before cannabis, he was constantly complaining about how tense he was and how much pain he had," said Watson's wife, Priscilla. "His pain would keep him up all night, so he would be exhausted, tired, and need naps throughout the next day. But now, he sleeps all night and is not in pain anymore."


As an Air Force veteran and nutritional therapist herself, Priscilla feels cannabis is a more natural and safer alternative to attending to his pain than opioid pharmaceuticals, noting the disparity between what she calls "the obsolete argument that marijuana is dangerous."

"He is happier, more productive, and more motivated," she added. "So, it has changed his quality of life greatly."


Medical cannabis's benefits associate with its responsible use, including refraining from driving while under the influence and ensuring that proper dosage is administered.

"As someone with a nutrition background, I do not let Jarid smoke it because I do not like having to deal with the damaging effects of the smoke in the lungs," she said. "He uses cannabis in the form of edibles, which I think is a lot safer, and tends to produce a more positive effect."


While the VA cannot deny any veterans benefits due to medical marijuana use, the VA providers cannot recommend or prescribe any form of cannabis since the Food and Drug Administration still classifies it as a Schedule I drug. Instead, Veterans must pay out of pocket for an annual physician's evaluation and medical cannabis cards in one of 30 states, which have legalized medical marijuana.


Participation in any state marijuana program does not affect a veteran's eligibility for VA care and services. VA providers can discuss cannabis use with veteran patients and adjust care and treatment plans as needed. However, Etten adds that the federal classification of cannabis leaves many veterans in limbo. While some can afford to pay the out-of-pocket costs, many others cannot and must rely solely on the VA for health care.


Until cannabis has been removed from the Schedule I list and elevated from a health policy issue where it can be treated as a medical treatment, we will be stuck in this legal gray zone where we are currently located.


However, the federal government maintains that more research into the efficacy of medical marijuana needs to be conducted before it is declassified and made available to service-connected disabled veterans through the VA.


DAV Resolution #23 supports additional research in the use of medical cannabis, noting the DAV's call for more research—rather than just legalization—requiring the need to know more about both the potential benefits and risks associated with medical marijuana. As veterans, we do not want to prescribe a new form of treatment without research showing it is safe and effective.


The VA Medicinal Cannabis Research Act of 2018 promotes the scientific and medical research into the safety and efficiency of medicinal cannabis usage on veterans diagnosed with PTSD, TBI, chronic pain, and other injuries by clarifying that research medicinal cannabis is well under the authority of the VA.


"We have heard of veterans who use cannabis medicinally to cope with physical and mental injuries sustained from active service for our country," said Walz. "Twenty-two percent report using cannabis as a safer and more effective alternative to opioids and drug cocktails currently prescribed by VA for the medical conditions such as PTSD or chronic pain."


"As a physician, I am acutely aware of the need to look for opioid alternatives to treat patients' chronic pain," said Roe. "I've heard from many veterans who suffer from physical and invisible wounds and believe medical cannabis could benefit them."


The Veterans Medical Marijuana Safe Harbor Act (S. 3409) would also empower VA physicians to issue medical cannabis recommendations under states' laws where it is legal.


This legislation would also force the VA to conduct studies on "the effects of medical marijuana on veterans in PTSD and pain" and "the relationship between treatment programs involving medical marijuana that are approved by States and a reduction in opioid abuse among veterans."


In 2014 a study by the Journal of the American Medical Association discovered that medical marijuana laws had a twenty-five percent lower average annual opioid overdose death rate than states without such laws.


"If veterans can ease some of their chronic pain, symptoms of injuries they have received from serving their country without turning to opioids, the VA has a responsibility to research it," said Sen. Jon Tester.


Despite the criticisms of medical cannabis use, as it becomes gradually accepted, no other demographic stands to benefit more from its use and legality as America's veterans.


"I was tentative at first to be open about it because of the stigma that is still associated with cannabis," said Watson. "However, ultimately, you finally realize how much it helps, and you feel guilty for not sharing that information with everyone else."


Veterans organizations like DAV are precisely what medical cannabis users need to advocate for making medical cannabis an available alternative for veterans everywhere.


References:


Bonn-Miller, M. & Rousseau, G. (2015). Marijuana Use and PTSD Among Veterans. Department of Veteran Affairs. Retrieved from https://www.ptsd.va.gov/professional/treat/cooccurring/marijuana_ptsd_vets.asp

Hunter, T. (2018). A Cannabis Cure. Disabled American Veterans (DAV). Retrieved from by https://www.dav.org/learn-more/news/2018/the-cannabis-cure/


Oleck, J. (2020). Cannabis May Help Veterans With PTSD. And Lawmakers May Be Acknowledging That. Forbes. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/joanoleck/2020/03/30/cannabis-may-help-veterans-with-ptsd-and-lawmakers-may-be-acknowledging-that/?sh=79ecf8315fe6


Reno, J. (2019). People in 33 States Can Use Medical Marijuana. Why Can't Veterans Get It for PTSD? Healthline. Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/health-news/why-are-veterans-still-being-denied-cannabis-for-ptsd-treatment


Spenser, S. (2020). Marijuana is a top treatment for veterans' pain, PTSD, but the cost is a barrier. The Metro West Daily News. Retrieved from https://www.metrowestdailynews.com/news/20200204/marijuana-is-top-treatment-for-veterans-pain-ptsd-but-cost-is-barrier

Image provided by Hunter, T. (2018). A Cannabis Cure. Disabled American Veterans (DAV). Retrieved from by https://www.dav.org/learn-more/news/2018/the-cannabis-cure/

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