A Veteran’s Guide to Medical Marijuana

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Cannabis is praised for its physical and mental health benefits. In many places, it is used to treat PTSD symptoms in veterans. Many states have already approved cannabis use for treating PTSD and chronic pain. 

A 2017 study found that about 12.9% of United States veterans have been diagnosed with PTSD. That means over half a million veterans have been diagnosed with PTSD in the last fifteen years alone!

Cannabis & the VA

Although your VA doctor cannot prescribe or recommend cannabis, you can’t be denied VA benefits on the basis of cannabis use alone. Unfortunately, this means you also can’t use your VA benefits to pay for cannabis.

However, many dispensaries offer discounts to veterans. Even though you’ll be paying for cannabis out of pocket, many resources offer discounts for veterans suffering from PTSD or chronic pain.

Cannabis vs. Traditional Medication

Cannabis can be more effective at treating PTSD than traditional antidepressants and anxiety medications. At this time, there’s no medication specifically created for use in PTSD patients. However, many people find significant relief by using cannabis to treat their PTSD.

You’re less likely to experience side effects from cannabis use. Many antidepressants and anxiety medications have serious side effects, including an increased risk for suicidal thoughts. Cannabis works better with fewer side effects.

Some studies show that cannabis use is reducing dependence on opioids. The opioid epidemic has drawn attention to the negative impact of opioid pain medications. These medications can create a dependency, pushing many patients to heroin use. Although some areas still classify cannabis as a drug, it has allowed many people to cut their opioid doses by a staggering 60 to 100%!

Scientific Research on Cannabis

As more studies are conducted, there’s more information to support cannabis use in veterans. Although some remain skeptical about its use, a 2014 study found that patients with PTSD saw a 75% reduction in symptoms with regular cannabis use.

In fact, studies have shown that CBD is effective at reducing disturbing thoughts or memories. Because it has fewer side effects than traditional anxiety medications, cannabis use can help veterans cope with trauma.

One study published in Journal of Neuroscience studied the effects of injecting synthetic marijuana into the brains of rats. They discovered that the rats injected with marijuana recovered from trauma faster and suffered from fewer stress symptoms.

That means that cannabis doesn’t just conceal PTSD symptoms, but may offer an actual cure to traumatic memory!

Funding for Future Cannabis Research

Although initial studies are overwhelmingly positive, further research needs to be done to allow the widespread use of cannabis for treating PTSD symptoms. 

Legalizing and taxing cannabis can help fund this vital research. Even though there is no guarantee that tax dollars will be spent on this research, lobbyists have the potential to change the government’s stance on cannabis research.

After Colorado legalized cannabis for recreational use, taxes brought in at the state level increased drastically. In 2020, nearly $400 million was brought in from taxes on cannabis alone!

Where Veterans Can Buy Cannabis

If you’re looking for somewhere to buy cannabis, you can purchase it at local dispensaries. As of July 2021, eighteen states have legalized recreational use of marijuana and 37 states have legalized cannabis for medical use.

For residents of many states, purchasing from an online dispensary is a great option. If you’re looking for an online dispensary in the United States or Canada, there are several options available. Click here for more information.

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