Marijuana and PTSD

Cannabis and PTSDCannabis may one day become an effective treatment for PTSDThere is no doubt that all countries are proud of their service members. It is a strong feeling that many citizens are proud of expressing. A returning soldier is often considered a hero and can expect respect from many people he meets.

This is a different story where self medicating with marijuana is concerned. While there have been significant reductions in the rate of PTSD in many armed forces, especially that of the USA, post traumatic stress syndrome remains a crippling and life changing affliction that all too many veterans face. The trauma of warfare combined with the shock of readjusting to civilian life can leave many veterans seeking medication to solve their issues.

Enter marijuana. The subject of huge and ever increasing controversy in recent years, there are interesting signs that this drug may have the ability to help ease the problem of PTSD for returned veterans of the armed forces. In America there are seventeen states that allow legal sale of marijuana for medical purposes. There are not a specific number of veterans making use of marijuana to alleviate their PTSD, but it appears that more are beginning to smoke or ingest the substance. Staff Sergeant Emanuel Herra speaks on his experiences, stating that "One doctor said I could get some repercussions for doing it. But I did it legally. And I know for a fact — I'm a walking testimonial — that it works."

One issue with the use of marijuana to medicate PTSD is its relative newness; there is much research that needs to be done on the subject before it can be firmly stated as a helpful way to treat PTSD; a difficult thing to do with the substance currently illegal in many countries. There is also the question of when in the stages of treatment marijuana should be considered to treat PTSD; many doctors are of the opinion that intensive personal therapy is the best first step before seeking alternative options.

It is likely that opinion on the use of medical marijuana will remain divided for many years to come. With increasing calls for legality in many countries, however, we may soon see it as a viable treatment alternative for our suffering veterans.

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