American Military Members Try Medicinal Marijuana

The subject of medicinal marijuana has been heavily debated throughout the United States, with some states in favor of its use while other states are firmly against it. Now, its use has been extended to former and current members of the United States arm services. Those who suffer from pain or anxiety as the result of their military service may be able to turn to medicinal marijuana for their treatment.

Numerous medications are used to treat members of the military who suffer from mental or physical debilitations after having fought for their country. Some of these men may be prescribed over a dozen medications at a time. Some of them have now taken up residence in states which allow the use of medicinal marijuana to aid their treatment. There are entire groups dedicated to this cause. One such group is Grow4Vets, which advocates the use of the drug particularly to aid those who have suffered while at war. They hand out samples of the drug on veteran-related holidays such as Memorial Day.

Many veterans suffer from wounds and psychological issues following active service, so their treatment has been an ongoing issue over the years. Addictive drugs have often been used to treat such patients, though medicinal marijuana is possibly less addictive and certainly much less dangerous than some other drugs that have been used (such as OxyContin). Using cannabis rather than opiates may put such veterans at less risk of overdose while sparing them battles with addiction.

Aside from the recurring pain of severe wounds, one of the most widely faced issues with veterans is PTSD. Post-traumatic stress keeps patients in a nearly constant state of alert and can seriously impact their quality of life. Medicinal marijuana alleviates this stress without causing the same level of narcotic stupor associated with opiate use. Addiction to OxyContin can also lead to the use of stronger opiates such as heroin, an issue which has plagued veterans since the Vietnam War, the CBS News reports.

Grow4Vets is mostly active in Colorado, where medicinal marijuana is currently legal. The problem is that while the state may approve of its use, it is still banned federally. This has caused issues before in states such as California, where federal raids have negatively impacted the availability of medical pot clinics. Post-traumatic stress can sometimes lead to suicide, so many are standing behind the use of medicinal marijuana not just to alleviate veterans’ symptoms, but potentially to save lives.

Ian Harvey

Ian Harvey is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE