CANNAHEALTH The Opioid Epidemic - Page 45

A study of veterans receiving treatment for PTSD showed that 66% of them were also being treated for chronic pain. Studies have also shown that veterans with PTSD treated with opiates “were also more likely to experience adverse outcomes, such as accidents, overdoses, and suicide.”

What does the Veterans Association (VA) say? Not much. In fact, Veteran’s Affairs physicians are not allowed to even discuss marijuana as a treatment option. That’s a great hypocrisy since the VA’s own website acknowledges that, “When considering the subset of Veterans seen in VA health care with co-occurring PTSD and substance use disorders (SUD), cannabis use disorder has been the most diagnosed SUD since 2009.”

The current approach by the VA is antianxiety drugs, antidepressants, sedatives, and other meds. They do not seem to recognize that there are many soldiers self-medicating with an option safer and possibly more effective than all those other prescriptions.

Scientists at University of Pennsylvania and Johns Hopkins researchers looked at 17 states with medical marijuana and found there were 1,826 fewer prescriptions for painkillers. Johns Hopkins found, “States with medical cannabis laws had a 24.8% lower mean annual opioid overdose mortality rate.”

Knowing the suicide risk that veterans face, the possibility that cannabis could help and still refusing to allow even a discussion about this safer alternative is a crime. It is an affront to the hardworking men and women who have placed country first and deserve us to return the favor and look out for them. If there were some chance that medical marijuana could help lower veteran suicide risk, we owe it to our most loyal citizens to explore that possibility.

For professional support for yourself or a loved one, please engage one of the many 24 hour emergency resources available such as the ones below:

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255

Active Heroes, Veterans’ Crisis Line: 1-800-273-8255

Save22.net: 1-800-273-8255

Veterans Crisis Line (1-800-273-8255 and Press 1) or text (838255)

Trey Reckling

"If there were some chance that medical marijuana could help lower veteran suicide risk, we owe it to our most loyal citizens to explore that possibility."

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