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Congress May Expand Veteran Access to Cannabis for PTSD

Last Tuesday the Veterans Equal Access Act was reintroduced in the House of Representatives, a law that would grant doctors in the Dept. of Veteran Affairs (VA) the ability to recommend medical marijuana for PTSD (albeit only in legal medical cannabis states). Despite evidence supporting cannabis’ efficacy in treating PTSD, VA physicians have so far been unable to provide any guidance to veterans seeking this particular alternative.

The typical prescription for PTSD veterans is a medley of FDA-approved anti-depressant and anti-anxiety medications, but these drugs have only demonstrated limited benefits as they only temporarily mask symptoms, can induce unpleasant side effects, are often served without counseling, and are altogether ineffective for some individuals. Veterans treated using this minimalist approach are not encouraged to confront the underpinnings of their condition, allowing memories to maintain their maximum traumatic potency.

While ideally cannabis would still be used in conjunction with therapy, research suggests that cannabinoids operate on a different set of receptors relevant to PTSD. This discovery could pave the way for marijuana-based remedies that mitigate anxieties, flashbacks, and tension associated with PTSD with fewer side effects than mood stabilizers currently on the market.

So, we keep our fingers crossed tightly as our alliance of pro-cannabis lawmakers push the Veterans Equal Access Act through the political obstacle course to Congress. Good to see that some politicians still have a heart; it’s truly sad and difficult to believe that there are still some who believe veterans, who have laid their lives in harm’s way in defense of this country, don’t deserve access to a medicine that can help unravel the damage done in their service.

Image credit: ResoluteSupportMedia via Photopin cc