Going 'green' for PTSD victims


By Marie E. Matyjaszek   

On April 20 of each year, people celebrate the king of all things green – marijuana.  And on that day last month, Colorado’s Department of Health and Environment agreed to provide funding for a groundbreaking marijuana study. 

The DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration) has signed off on allowing veterans, 76 in total, to legally use “raw” marijuana in an effort to see if it aids them in treating Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).  The drug will be provided courtesy of the federal government as well – unbeknownst to me, the feds own a marijuana farm at the University of Mississippi.  Variations of strains and potencies will be tested on those participating.

Getting the DEA onboard provides a real opportunity for marijuana to become a prescription drug, and the study is the first step at beginning this process.  Most drugs have to undergo a rigorous research and testing process before they hit the market, and this will help marijuana meet that criteria, too. The funding is sourced from medical marijuana application fees, which frankly, makes total sense.

Marijuana has been legalized in various states for medical purposes to treat a variety of health problems, including cancer, pain and seizures.  Many individuals who suffer from PTSD claim that marijuana has helped them deal with the ailments that accompany the disorder.

According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ website, some 7-8 percent of the American population will suffer from PTSD during their lifetime.  From the veteran population, an estimated 30 percent of Vietnam vets have experienced PTSD; 12 percent of Gulf War vets, and 11-20 percent of those that served in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom.

Enrollment likely will take place over a two-year period, and the results will hopefully be known by 2019.  The study will take place in Arizona and Maryland.

For those suffering from PTSD, and in particular military veterans, this study could be life (not just mind) altering.  The approval itself has already impacted the legal community, and it will only continue to do so if it is proved effective and safe for treatment.

(The author is a family law attorney whose blog site is: http://legalbling. blogspot.com. She can be reached by e-mailing her at matyjasz@hotmail.com.)