According to various press releases, Veterans are turning to pot or marijuana or cannabis to self-medicate against the symptoms of PTSD. According to Ben Finley of the Associated Press and published recently on ABC:
While the research has been contradictory and limited, some former members of the military say pot helps them manage their anxiety, insomnia and nightmares. Prescription drugs such as Klonopin and Zoloft weren’t effective or left them feeling like zombies, some say.
Indeed, the use of cannabis by Veterans has increased despite the fact that it “remains illegal in most states and is unapproved by the Department of Veterans Affairs (“VA”) because major studies have yet to show it is effective against PTSD.”
Indeed, SFTT has been reporting for months that the VA seems to have lost its way in providing meaningful therapy for Veterans with PTSD. The cocktail of prescription drugs continues to be the standard treatment recommended by the VA in treating PTSD, despite overwhelming evidence that Veterans mistrust these prescription drugs. Furthermore, even the FDA and DoD believe that these prescription drugs are toxic.
Is Cannabis to Treat PTSD Effective?
There are many conflicting reports on whether or not “pot” is effective in treating the symptoms of PTSD. Anecdotal evidence, as argued in the video below, suggests that cannabis or medicianl marijuana allows Veterans a few moments of peace or the ability to cope with their PTSD symptoms better than the psychotic drugs often prescribed by the VA. Perhaps, alcohol or other recreational or “hard” drugs may provide the same benefits in treating they symptoms of PTSD as pot.
Treating the symptoms of PTSD and providing long-term solutions to help Veterans reclaim their lives are two very different goals. Sure, any number of forms of self-medication or prescription drugs can mask the symptoms of PTSD temporarily, but this chemically-induced temporary “release from pain” hardly allows the Veteran – or any other person – to recover from a traumatic event.
In the opinion of SFTT, meaningful solutions are needed to allow Veterans suffering from the invisible wounds of war to reclaim their lives without the dependency of drugs or other prescription pharmaceuticals. In fact, our dependency on drugs has become a national epidemic.
Earlier this week the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”) issued guidelines to curb the use of prescription drugs. Why? As Lloyd Sederer of US News and World Report suggests:
The CDC guidelines are a needed and valuable public health step towards changing the deadly opioid epidemic in this country. We can prevent addiction for many, reduce overdoses and death for tens of thousands each year, improve functioning in countless people and introduce means other than pills to manage the inescapable pains of living.
Indeed, whether it is marijuana or prescribed opioids, as individuals and as a society, we need to ask whether it is better to seek solutions to materially improve the quality of our life or are we simply prepared to continue to live a life in a haze of smoke that simply masks the symptoms of the pains we have acquired through life’s journey. This is the question that each Veteran must ask themselves. There is no easy answer.Share