Soldiers give their all, but sometimes return home a bit broken….access to cannabis can make a huge difference

The United States and Canada have over 1 million active service personal. They sacrifice so their fellow citizens can enjoy safety, democracy and more. Four years is the usual full time commitment, but sometimes, the time stays with them forever.  With mini wars and flare ups around the world, from 20-30% come back with some level of PTSD. It is tough souvenir for trying to help your country. Science shows cannabis can help PTSD and hopefully the US federal government will move quickly to help more.

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While the government grinds slowly, over 30,000 active duty personnel and veterans who have served in the military since 9/11 have committed suicide. That is the roughly the same amount of wiping out all of Fairbanks, Alaska.  More veterans committed suicide, almost 100,000, after Vietnam, than in the war (roughly 58,000).

Photo by Jose Luis Pelaez Inc/Getty Images

Symptoms are generally grouped into four types including intrusive memories, avoidance, negative changes in thinking and mood, and changes in physical and emotional reactions. Symptoms can vary over time or vary from person to person. These can cause a person to lose any advantage in life and cripple their day to day life.

Over 50% of research done on the medical benefits of marijuana have been focused on dangers and not ways to help. But existing studies indicate medical marijuana, in the right dose, can reduce the symptoms of PTSD and provide relief.  More wide spread studies need to be funded and completed to better understand the full benefits and treatment regimes.

One study revealed cannabis users reported a greater decrease in the severity of their PTSD symptoms. They also were more than 2.5 times as likely to no longer meet the diagnostic criteria for PTSD as those who did not use cannabis.

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Some good news is veterans participating in a state-sanctioned medical marijuana program will not be denied VA benefits, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs. VA providers are able to discuss cannabis use with veteran patients and adjust care and treatment plans as needed. Veterans are encouraged to discuss medical marijuana use with their VA providers as part of their confidential medical record.

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