By Ed Coghlan.
You shouldn’t underestimate the importance of the American veteran in the debate over how to treat chronic pain.
Our vets—many of whom are suffering from chronic pain—are easily the most sympathetic subset of chronic pain patients.
And the vets are driving an important issue—that medical marijuana is an important remedy for PTSD.
The large and influential 2.2-million-member American Legion has pressured the federal government to allow Department of Veterans Affairs doctors recommend medical marijuana where it’s legal. Right now, 29 states have approved marijuana for medical use. The Legion started advocating last year for easing federal constraints on medical pot research, a departure into drug policy for the nearly century-old organization.
“When veterans come to us and say a particular treatment is working for them, we owe it to them to listen and to do scientific research required,” Executive Director Verna Jones told CNBC.
Medical marijuana first became legal in 1996 in California for a wide range of conditions; New Mexico in 2009 became the first state specifically to include PTSD patients. States have signed on in growing numbers particularly since 2014.
A federally approved clinical trial of marijuana as a PTSD treatment for veterans is now underway in Phoenix. It might be two years before the results are known, which creates more debate about whether medical marijuana helps.
Does it help PTSD and chronic pain?
“The current studies highlight the real and urgent need for high-quality clinical trials in both of these areas,” said Dr. Sachin Patel, a psychiatry researcher at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee told BusinessInsider.com last summer.
When you think about marijuana’s potentially positive impact, it doesn’t mean you smoke a joint. The research was focused on what’s known as nabiximols, or oral mixtures sprayed into the mouth.
More study is needed–and it’s needed now.
Pardon the editorial comment, but it’s time that the federal government gets its head out of you know where and conducts some serious research into the impact that marijuana can have on people with chronic pain and PTSD.