EUGENE, Ore. — Should people suffering from Posttraumatic Stress Disorder be allowed to treat it with marijuana? One group says yes.
Some medical marijuana advocates are pushing to add PTSD to the list of conditions that allow for a medical marijuana card.
“Veterans are claiming PTSD benefits at an ever increasing rate,” said Cmdr. James Walsh, American Legion Post 3.
Walsh says the recent wars have only added to the number of soldiers coming home with PTSD, but when it comes to treatment, he wonders if every avenue is being pursued.
“It’s questionable whether enough is being done,” Walsh said. That’s why some are suggesting vets be allowed to throw out the prescription drugs and light up instead.
“When they take marijuana you see it, they are alive again and the addiction really isn’t there in that it debilitates the body. Their life is new,” said medical marijuana advocate Brian Michaels.
Michaels is planning to meet with the attorney general to push for a new system that would allow people with PTSD to be prescribed marijuana. That will be a tall order since the subject is so politically charged.
“I think there is a hidden agenda here and the advocates for this proposition want to be able to compel the government to become involved in the distribution of safe and legal marijuana to every veteran who claims to have PTSD,” Walsh said.
There are an estimated 300,000 veterans in Oregon. More than 20,000 of those served in Iraq and Afghanistan, and 20 percent of those vets, according to one study, reported PTSD symptoms.
Micheals says, politics aside, it’s because of those numbers he wants to see a change.
“It’s an undeniable way to make these people feel comfortable in themselves,” Michaels said.
Advocates have tried twice to get PTSD added as a condition in the past but were unsuccesful, and Colorado and Arizona recently rejected efforts to add the condition to their medical marijuana programs.