For as long as humans have waged war on another, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) has been a devastating consequence of war that lasts for the rest of a veteran's life. In present times, it's estimated that as many as 20% of U.S. veterans suffer from PTSD.
Respite is coming to a growing number of people suffering from PTSD thanks to the rise in legal medical marijuana policies across the country. There are now 23 states that permit residents to use marijuana for its health benefits if they have obtained a recommendation from their doctor.
However, veterans who live in states that don't have legislation regarding medicinal marijuana don't have the same access to the benefits of medicinal marijuana, as federal law still prohibits marijuana use. Nor can VA doctors or medical staff legally prescribe, recommend or even mention medical marijuana to their patients, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
A new bill currently going through the House of Representatives may change that, allowing veterans easier access to the benefits of medicinal marijuana. According to the Inquisitr, the Veterans Equal Access Act aims to allow VA doctors to recommend medical marijuana to their patients in states where it's legal.
“Our antiquated drug laws must catch up with the real suffering of so many of our veterans," bill cosponsor Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) said. "This is now a moral cause and a matter of supreme urgency.”
The benefits of medicinal marijuana for veterans -- or anyone suffering from PTSD -- are many. Medical marijuana allows patients to ease their anxiety and depression without experiencing any of the harmful side effects that come with legal prescription drugs.
While it's unclear at this point if the Veterans Equal Access Act will be signed into law, it marks an important step toward helping veterans with PTSD get the assistance they need to cope with their condition.
Do you think veterans should have easier access to medicinal marijuana use? Share your thoughts in the comments below.