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Veterans May Catch a Break in Oregon

veterans

As the 2012 presidential election nears, we will hear two men in suits talking quite a bit about our soldiers.  They will congratulate and praise them, but they will also ignore their basic needs.  Returning home after enduring the daily struggles of a foreign military conflict is not an envious position.  Our government has a responsibility to help who protect our country.  Integrating back into civilian life has proven difficult for many soldiers and with cuts to veteran hospitals and benefits the future does not appear to hold an easier path.

Of course there is an affordable and accessible plan by many to help our soldiers.  Instead of addicting prescription pills that ultimately prove less effective, medical marijuana has been crucial to many returning soldiers.  If we are unwilling to tax, regulate, and stimulate the economy with our antiquated marijuana laws, then of course we would be willing to make an exception for those who ensure our own comfortable lives.  That assumption could not be further from the truth as many states, and The White House have ignored the pleas of veteran organizations.

Recently we did learn there was hope for those soldiers living in Oregon.  Oregonlive.com published an article that describes the efforts of veteran groups and activists seeking to add PTSD to list of conditions that qualify for medical marijuana use.  The article describes the situations of several struggling veterans including Jared Townsend.  Mr. Townsend is an Iraq war veteran and recently said that cannabis use can “balance life out a little bit better.”  He also went on to say “If I get racing thoughts and real worked up, it can break a panic attack pretty quick.”  While there is considerable momentum for attempting to change the law, precedent is not encouraging.  In the 14 years of Oregon’s medical marijuana program only new condition (agitation associated with Alzheimer’s disease) has been added to the list of permissible uses.   In order to get the law changed, a petition will have to be submitted.  Then the Oregon Health Authority will select who sits on a panel to review the submission.  Veteran and marijuana advocates claim that past panels have included many anti marijuana members.

Research is still not conclusive on just how effective cannabis is toward treating complications associated with PTSD.  Dr. John J. Halpern, an assistant professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School said there is an “overabundance of case reports” that suggest that marijuana helps PTSD sufferers.  However he cited political reasons for a lack of research.  Cannabis is the only schedule 1 substance that requires additional review by National Institute on Drug Abuse in order to conduct research.  Many are incensed that the least destructive substance in the schedule 1 category requires so much additional red tape navigation.  Many analysts have noted that a lack of research seems to be a convenient answer as that line can be used over and over by the same lawmakers who simultaneously block the research.  Although research is needed to determine the future of PTSD treatment, we at marijuana.net trusts the tens of thousands of soldiers who have no reason to coordinate a large scale conspiracy.  Our heroes need relief and we cannot arm them to fight foreign wars but simply take away any tools that would help with reintegration.


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