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Should marijuana be legalized for treatment of PTSD? (three)

Last week, we examined the potential effectiveness of medical marijuana to treat post-traumatic stress disorder in military veterans and the many others who suffer from the disorder. With the recently proven ineffectiveness of Risperdal and similar antipsychotic medications to treat PTSD, researchers have turned their attention to medical marijuana as a potential method of treatment.

However, large-scale clinical research has proved impossible as a result of the significant roadblocks set in place by the federal government and anti-drug lobbyists which have effectively trapped medical marijuana in a vicious cycle. Because it remains labeled a dangerous Schedule I drug, marijuana is illegal. Drug Enforcement Administration officials will not allow marijuana to be reclassified, justifying the decision by claiming that there is no evidence that the drug has any medicinal value. But the agency also refuses to allow private entities to grow marijuana for their own research, and attempts to use government-cultivated marijuana for research are continually met with delays and obstacles.

Meanwhile, states such as California that have legalized marijuana for medical purposes are reporting an influx of veterans using the drug to treat their PTSD symptoms. In New Mexico, for example, more patients use marijuana to treat PTSD than for any other medical conditions.

While we are certainly not condoning widespread use of marijuana, it would be a shame if the government prevented a potentially effective method of treatment from being used by veterans and others who need it to treat the debilitating effects of PTSD.

If you suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, you may qualify for Social Security Disability benefits. Because the effects of the disease are highly subjective, obtaining benefits is often challenging. You will need to prove a documented history of the disorder for at least two years, as well as statements and other evidence of the effects of the disorder on your ability to hold a job. An experienced Social Security Disability attorney can help you navigate this complicated process.

Source: Washington Post, "Marijuana may help PTSD. Why won't the government find out for sure?" Steve Fox, Oct. 14, 2011

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