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Veterans use pot to ease symptoms of PTSD

Many combat veterans suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD, an affliction that can result in mood and personality disorders, sensitivities to sound and light and other reflexes that make day-to-day living stressful and difficult. For healthcare professionals, treating PTSD is complicated and has used a variety of treatments and therapies, including prescription medication and counseling. Now, many veterans have found that the use of marijuana eases the symptoms and helps them cope with day-to-day life.

Veterans suffering PTSD have turned to the illegal and legal use of marijuana to deal with the physical and mental pains of combat. In the states where medical marijuana use is legal, many medical professionals still do not agree that the relief is outweighed by other, negative side effects. Even though there is some disagreement about whether it is the right prescription, veteran testimonials are evidence that the drug is working.

There is no official data on the number of veterans who participate in the legal medical-marijuana programs. Veterans and advocates of medical marijuana use say that turning to marijuana is more popular than ever to deal with the disabling symptoms of PTSD, brain injuries and chronic pain.

Legally, treating veterans with marijuana use is complicated. The Department of Justice and the Drug Enforcement agency are officially opposed to the use of medical marijuana to treat PTSD and other combat-related ailments. The federal government has also sent conflicting messages: while federal law enforcement agencies oppose state medical marijuana programs, the VA staff does allow participation.

Despite the legal complications, many veterans agree that medical marijuana is, in fact, working. In the state of California where medical marijuana use is legal, it isn't difficult for veterans to obtain authorization to treat PTSD symptoms.

Source: USA Today "Military veterans say pot eases PTSD," Yvonne Wingett Sanchez, June 5, 2012.

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