Saturday, December 6, 2014

Marijuana Treatment for Veterans

ptsd and military
PTSD and the Military
   San Diego has one of the largest military veteran populations in the United States with a total of 265,000 veterans .(Source)    OUTCO  dispenses medical marijuana to the community of San Diego, and many of our patients are veterans suffering from a variety of medical conditions. Conditions experienced by military personnel include: traumatic brain injury,  chronic pain, insomnia, anxiety, depression and  PTSD.
      Medical marijuana has been shown through studies to support patients with all of these conditions.   Veterans with a medical marijuana prescription report that cannabis has fewer side effects to their treatment than other prescribed medicine.(Source) This is an excellent option for veterans. Unfortunately, the US military has a zero tolerance for marijuana use for active military, which has existed since the Reagan administration.(Source) has reported the need for better treatment than what is currently available to military veterans, stating :

• In 2012 there were more military suicides than death from combat
• Military suicides are at their highest rate in the last 10 years
• 8-20% of military doing tours in Iraq or Afghanistan suffer from a traumatic brain injury
• Traumatic brain injuries increase suicidal thoughts
• 20% of all suicides in the United States are from military veterans
• 300,000 veterans from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars have been diagnosed with PTSD

Veterans and PTSD
       Increase in Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) has recently been in the forefront of news about veterans.   PTSD results in suicide making discussion for treatments a hot topic. Studies have shown that on average 11-20% of Operation Iraqi and Enduring Freedom veterans, 10% of Desert Storm veterans and 30% of Vietnam veterans suffer from PTSD.(Source)

Veterans and Suicide
     Statistics have shown a 20% increase in veteran suicide since 2007. Experts believe this is due to the increase in the use of the prescription drug Lorazepam.   This drug has been prescribed to treat depression, anxiety and insomnia with a dangerous side-effect of feelings of suicide.   Other veterans self-medicate with alcohol and prescribed medications that can lead to suicidal thoughts.(Source) Traumatic brain injury, which has been prevalent in the wars of Iraq and Afghanistan, often results in an increase of these thoughts of suicide.(Source)

Research that Show the Benefit of Cannabis for Veterans
     Research has concluded that cannabis can treat many of the conditions from which these veterans suffer.   Use of marijuana increases a cannabinoid named 2-AG.   This in turn helps to reduce swelling and toxic chemicals released during a brain injury.(Source) In 2010, a Canadian study found that smoking 3 puffs of marijuana a day relieves pain and insomnia.(Source) In 1986, it was found that cannabis affects the benzoiazepine receptors of the brain thus reducing anxiety.(Source) Research conducted at McGill University showed low doses of THC helped to relieve depression.(Source) These conditions are closely related to  PTSD  thus offering relief with marijuana in the way it effects the  CB1 and CB2 receptors of the brain.(Source)


1 comment:

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