Veterans Pushing States to Approve Pot as PTSD Treatment

28 states include PTSD in their medical marijuana programs
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Nov 26, 2017 11:45 AM CST
Veterans Pushing States to Approve Pot as PTSD Treatment
FILE - This Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2016 file photo shows medical marijuana packaging on display at Vireo Health drug dispensary in White Plains, N.Y. Twenty-eight states plus the District of Columbia have enabled the use of marijuana to treat PTSD, and the number has doubled just in the last two years amid...   (AP Photo/Jennifer Peltz, File)

Against the backdrop of the nation's largest Veterans Day parade, Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced this month he'd sign legislation making New York the latest in a fast-rising tide of states to OK therapeutic pot as a PTSD treatment, though it's illegal under federal law and doesn't boast extensive, conclusive medical research, the AP reports. Twenty-eight states plus the District of Columbia now include PTSD in their medical marijuana programs, a tally that has more than doubled in the last two years, according to data compiled by the pro-legalization Marijuana Policy Project. A 29th state, Alaska, doesn't incorporate PTSD in its medical marijuana program but allows everyone over 20 to buy pot legally.

The 2.2-million-member American Legion began pressing the federal government this summer to let Department of Veterans Affairs doctors recommend medical marijuana where it's legal. Even Veterans Affairs Secretary Dr. David Shulkin recently said "there may be some evidence that this [medical marijuana] is beginning to be helpful." Still, there remain questions and qualms—some from veterans—about advocating for medical marijuana as a treatment for PTSD. It was stripped out of legislation that added six other diseases and syndromes to Georgia's law that allows certain medical cannabis oils. The chairman of the New York Senate veterans' affairs committee voted against adding PTSD to the state's program, suggesting the drug might just mask their symptoms.

(More medical marijuana stories.)

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