Veterans, grappling with PTSD, are helping to boost public support for medical marijuana

the idea was a telling setting for a decision on whether post-traumatic stress disorder patients could use medical marijuana.

Against the backdrop of the nation’s largest Veterans Day parade, Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced This specific month he’d sign legislation doing brand new York the latest in a fast-rising tide of states to OK therapeutic pot as a PTSD treatment, though the idea’s illegal under federal law as well as doesn’t boast extensive, conclusive medical research.

Twenty-eight states plus the District of Columbia at This specific point include PTSD in their medical marijuana programs, a tally in which has more than doubled inside the last two years, according to data compiled by the pro-legalization Marijuana Policy Project. A 29th state, Alaska, doesn’t incorporate PTSD in its medical marijuana program nevertheless allows everyone over 20 to buy pot legally.

The increase has come amid increasingly visible advocacy coming from veterans’ groups.

Retired Marine staff sergeant Mark DiPasquale says the drug freed him coming from the 17 opioids, anti-anxiety pills as well as different medications in which were prescribed to him for migraines, post-traumatic stress as well as different injuries coming from service in which included a hard helicopter landing in Iraq in 2005.

“I just felt like a zombie, as well as I wanted to hurt somebody,” says DiPasquale, a co-founder of the Rochester, brand new York-based Veterans Cannabis Collective Foundation. the idea aims to educate vets about the drug he pointedly calls by the scientific name cannabis.

DiPasquale pushed to extend brand new York’s nearly two-year-old medical marijuana program to include post-traumatic stress. He’d qualified because of different conditions nevertheless felt the drug ease his anxiety, sleeplessness as well as different PTSD symptoms as well as spur him to focus on wellness.
“Do I still have PTSD? Absolutely,” says DiPasquale, 42. nevertheless “I’m back to my old self. I love people again.”

In a sign of how much the issue has taken hold among veterans, the 2.2-million-member American Legion began pressing the federal government This specific summer to let Department of Veterans Affairs doctors recommend medical marijuana where the idea’s legal. The Legion began advocating last year for easing federal constraints on medical pot research, a departure into drug policy for the nearly century-old organization.

“People ask, `Aren’t you the law-as well as-order group?’ Why, yes, we are,” Executive Director Verna Jones said at a Legion-arranged news conference early This specific month at the U.S. Capitol. nevertheless “when veterans come to us as well as say a particular treatment is usually working for them, we owe the idea to them to listen as well as to do scientific research required.”

Even Veterans Affairs Secretary Dr. David Shulkin recently said “there may be some evidence in which This specific (medical marijuana) is usually beginning to be helpful,” while noting in which his agency is usually barred coming from helping patients get the illegal drug. (A few prescription drugs containing a synthetic type of a key chemical in marijuana do have federal approval to treat chemotherapy-related nausea.)

Medical marijuana first became legal in 1996 in California for a wide range of conditions; brand new Mexico in 2009 became the first state specifically to include PTSD patients. States have signed on in growing numbers particularly since 2014.

“the idea’s quite a sea change,” says Michael Krawitz, a disabled Air Force veteran who at This specific point runs Veterans for Medical Cannabis Access, an Elliston, Virginia-based group in which’s pursued the issue in many states.

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