Will U.S. Vets With Ptsd Get Access To Cannabis Vaporizer Treatment?

Roughly 20 percent of the thousands of men and women who have served in the U.S. military during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are coming home with post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD. Triggered by the stress of combat, PTSD is a serious mental health condition that makes sufferers prone to depression, suicidal thoughts and actions, and aggression.

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As new conflicts break out abroad, it’s clear that the need for U.S. soldiers to be put in harm’s way will continue. That means that the United States will need to be prepared to offer effective treatments for veterans suffering from the effects of PTSD. Some doctors and public health experts are pushing to make legal marijuana vaporizer use one of those possible treatments. If they succeed, it could open new doors for veterans to finally get relief from their symptoms.

Cannabis and PTSD: Proven to Work, Yet Inaccessible to Vets

In areas where medical marijuana has been legal for use for years, many civilians have received prescriptions that allow them to vape cannabis in a dry herb vape pen, wax pen, or desktop vaporizer for the treatment of PTSD. Strong anecdotal evidence suggests that marijuana is effective at easing many symptoms of PTSD, and there have even been some small scientific studies that have validated the benefits of medical marijuana for the condition.

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Still, doctors who work for the U.S. Veterans Administration (VA) don’t have the option of prescribing a cannabis vaporizer, or any other form of medical marijuana to patients, even in states where it’s legal for civilians. This is due to the fact that marijuana is still banned at the federal level.

The Use of Vaporizers Abroad

In Canada, medical marijuana is legal at the federal level, and soldiers with PTSD regularly receive prescriptions to use medical marijuana with vaporizers. The use of e cig and portable vaporizer models amongst Canadian soldiers is so great in some areas that dispensaries are being opened near military bases. Proponents of legalizing medical marijuana for vets in the U.S. point to Canada as an example of the benefits of using the drug to manage PTSD.

A Push for Change

More and more Americans are joining the cause of veterans with PTSD, and are appealing to lawmakers and the VA to make changes to their policies. In response, the VA has issued a formal statement to explain that the policy cannot be changed at this time due to the lack of large, peer-reviewed studies into the benefits of using medical marijuana for the treatment of PTSD. After the statement was issued, federal lawmakers managed to pass legislation to allow for a study on the subject. Set to commence within the next few months, this study will include about 75 vets, and will be the largest of its kind ever conducted.

Vets may not have to wait until the findings of the study can be published, peer reviewed, and analyzed by the VA. This is because U.S. Congressmen from Oregon and California have already introduced a piece of legislation, called the Veterans Equal Access Act, which would permit vets, who live in states where medical marijuana is legal, to receive prescriptions for cannabis from VA doctors. Advocates for the legalization of marijuana for veterans’ use urge those who support the law to let their Congressmen and Senators know.

References: military.com | ptsd.va.gov