Hoping that legislative changes could lead to new treatment options for troops with traumatic brain injuries and PTSD, the largest veteran group in the U.S. is urging Congress to recognize marijuana’s medical value.
Researchers recently received government approval to “explore whether smoked marijuana can help reduce PTSD symptoms in 76 U.S. veterans with chronic, treatment-resistant posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).”
That’s despite the Drug Enforcement Agency’s announcement earlier this year that the drug would remain a Schedule I controlled substance under federal law, meaning in the government’s eyes marijuana has “high potential for abuse” and “no currently accepted medical use.”
Sue Sisley, the Arizona researcher who will head up the PTSD study, said that “veterans are exhausted and feel like guinea pigs.”
“They’re getting desperate,” she continued, noting that traditional antidepressants and other medications often fail to provide relief for vets with PTSD.
Last month, Shipley talked about the study at the American Legion’s convention.
“I only heard very positive feedback from the thousands of veterans in the audience,” she told marijuana.com. “I was stunned at how little controversy there was. It seems highly unanimous among American Legion members that we owe it to the veteran community to demand end to the barriers to this kind of cannabis research. In light of the epidemic of veteran suicide, the Legion knows they must strive to uncover new treatments for PTSD/opioid epidemic, etc.”
Following the convention, the veteran organization passed a resolution asking Congress to reschedule the drug and to provide more resources for research into its medical uses.
If Congress listens to the veterans, it could provide a major breakthrough for marijuana research and eventually force the FDA and DEA to recognizer the medicinal properties of marijuana that are already providing relieve to patients in more than two dozen states.