Veterans are key as the wave of states approves the medical kit for PTSD


NEW YORK – It was a telling scenario for a decision on whether patients with post-traumatic stress disorder could use medical marijuana.

Against the backdrop of the largest Veterans' Day parade, Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo announced this month that he would sign legislation that will make New York the last of a rapidly growing tide of states for therapeutic OK as treatment. of PTSD, although it is illegal under federal law and does not have exhaustive and conclusive medical research.

Twenty-eight states plus the District of Columbia now include post-traumatic stress disorder in their medical marijuana programs, a count that has more than doubled in the past two years, according to data compiled by the marijuana policy legalization project . A state number 29, Alaska, does not incorporate PTSD into its medical marijuana program, but it allows everyone over the age of 20 to buy boats legally.

The increase came amid an increasingly visible defense of the veterans' groups.

Retired Seaman Staff Sergeant Mark DiPasquale says the drug freed him from the 17 opiates, anxiolytic pills and other medications he was prescribed for migraines, post-traumatic stress and other service injuries that included a forced helicopter landing in Iraq in 2005.

"I just felt like a zombie and wanted to hurt someone," says DiPasquale, co-founder of the Veterans Cannabis Collective Foundation based in Rochester, New York. Its goal is to educate veterinarians about the drug that is deliberately called by the scientific name of cannabis.

DiPasquale lobbied to extend New York's nearly two-year medical marijuana program to include post-traumatic stress. He qualified because of other conditions, but he felt that the drug alleviated his anxiety, insomnia and other symptoms of PTSD and encouraged him to focus on well-being.

"I still have PTSD? Absolutely," says DiPasquale, 42. But "I have returned to my old self". I love people again. "

In a sign of how much the issue has settled among the veterans, the US Legion of 2.2 million members began to pressure the federal government this summer so that the doctors of the Department of Veterans Affairs Will Recommend Medical Marijuana Where It's Legal The Legion began advocating last year for alleviating federal restrictions on medical marijuana research, an exit to drug policy for the nearly century-old organization.

"People ask," Are not you the group of law and order? & # 39; Why, yes, we are, "said executive director Verna Jones at a press conference organized by the Legion earlier this month at the US Capitol, but" when veterans come to us and say that a treatment in Particularly it is working for them, we must listen to them and do scientific research. "

Even the Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Dr. David Shulkin, said recently that" there may be some evidence that this (medical marijuana) is beginning to be useful ", while noting that your agency can not help patients obtain the illegal drug. (Some prescription drugs that contain a synthetic version of a key chemical in marijuana do have federal approval to treat nausea related to chemotherapy) [19659006] Medical marijuana was legalized for the first time in 1996 in California for a wide range of conditions, New Mexico in 2009 became the first rimer was specifically to include patients with PTSD. States have joined more and more, especially since 2014.

"It's a radical change," says Michael Krawitz, a disabled veteran of the Air Force who now runs Veterans for Medical Cannabis Access, a group based in Elliston, Virginia that pursues the problem in many states.

There are still questions and scruples, some of the veterans, about the defense of medical marijuana as a treatment for PTSD.

Removed from legislation that added six other diseases and syndromes to Georgia law that allows certain medicinal cannabis oils. The chairman of the New York Senate veterans committee voted against adding PTSD to the state program, suggesting that the medication could mask his symptoms.

"The sooner we allow them to live and experience the kind of emotions we do, in a paradigm based on abstinence, the sooner they will return home," said Sen. Thomas Croci, a Republican, a former Navy intelligence officer. current reservist who served in Afghanistan.

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