Group wants vets with PTSD to have access to medical marijuana

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SAN DIEGO – An organization is hoping to convince President Barack Obama to change the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ stance on medical marijuana for the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder.

“As a suicide survivor myself, it’s a subject that touches me,” said Sean Tiernan of Weed for Warriors Project.

Like tens of thousands before him, when Teirnan came back from combat, he was diagnosed with PTSD and found himself unable to cope.

“Basically, they want to medicate you and that’s causing a lot of issues,” said Tiernan.

Before discovering cannabis as a treatment for PTSD, he was prescribed a series of drug cocktails that he says did more harm than good. He says that’s when he knew he had to take action.

“What we are trying to do is raise awareness and address a real epidemic we have in this country, and that is veterans suicide.”

On Nov. 11, Veterans Day, the group marched in Washington, D.C., dropping thousands of pill bottles at the White House. They created a petition on Change.org to bring a message straight to the president: “We’re asking the president to allow V.A. doctors to talk to patients about cannabis.”

“Veterans have PTSD issues and marijuana has been proven very effective,” said Lincoln Fish, CEO of OutCo Labs, San Diego County’s only legal marijuana collective. He says many of his customers are veterans dealing with PTSD.

“Post-traumatic stress is a really powerful thing and it’s debilitating,” he said.

While not enough studies have been done to prove the efficacy of medicinal marijuana on PTSD, there is plenty of anecdotal evidence.

“In PTSD, the problem there is dealing with the fear and being able to diminish the fear,” said Steve Dizay, a biochemist who has worked with cannabis for over a decade. He believes it holds the key to helping everyone with PTSD.

“If we modulate the CB1 receptor, so where the fear is down then we could probably addressed PTSD because clinically PTSD is that.”

14 comments

  • Lupita Serna

    I’m a vet but I know a scam when I see one. This loony idea sounds like something a bunch of stoners came up with while high.

    Cpl Cheech: “Duuuuuuude. What if we smoked dope all day and had the Govt sanction it?”

    Sgt Chong: “Broooooooo! We should have them PAY for it. Like the VA.

    Both: “Duuuuuuuuuuuuude!”

    • Jackson Harris

      It’s a shame that someone would diminish the plight of real veterans with this kind of ignorant commentary. Ask anyone who has actually served in combat and they will tell you how real this problem is, and many will tell you how much medicinal cannabis has helped them. Please take your juvenile nonsense elsewhere and let those who actually did serve get the help they need.

      • Tom k.

        I served in combat and guess what: I don’t smoke dope.

        What these vets are trying to do is an affront to real vets who don’t need drugs to cope with life events.

        I agree this is just a attempt get free dope.

        • Shawn K.

          I am also a combat veteran. I used to think that marijuana did nothing and it was just stupid stoners because I was uneducated on marijuana… That and I believe those stupid stoners are the wrong people advocating pot. It helped with my anxiety, depression, panic attacks (when I had one), flashbacks, SLEEP (which is a HUGE problem with PTSD), anger, fear, memory problems (caused by lack of sleep), etc. I exhibit almost all symptoms of PTSD and I can honestly say mildly medicating yourself with pot does a lot more than prescription medications, which for myself and many other vets with PTSD, can cause Serotonin Syndrome that can kill. There are those that would “abuse” marijuana and stay high all the time but don’t people already do that with prescription medications such as valium and alcohol? Even if you don’t abuse medications such as valium you DO build up a tolerance to them over time from excessive use because of your symptoms. I’d also like to mention that you don’t MAGICALLY start on a set of meds that help and every med has a different set of symptoms that affect different people. Everyone who serves in combat doesn’t come back with PTSD. Just because you served in combat it doesn’t mean you know everything related to PTSD. I only say that because I’m assuming you do not know what people with PTSD go through on a daily basis and that we need mental breaks. Alcohol kills trying to forget and prescription meds don’t even meet people half way dealing with it.

        • MeddedK8

          Hmm, I thought there was supposed to be some sort of comraderie for your fellow soldiers, or at the very least, a little compassion, but I guess when you feel so superior to weak losers who can’t be as awesome and unphased by the horrors of war, it’s hard to have empathy. But you know, PTSD is just one of those mental things people with balls just get over or avoid altogether, yeah?

          Mental health is just as valid a condition as physical, if not more so. I have PDD, not PTSD, but it has similar characteristics. People who have to fight their own mind every day to do something as simple as get out of bed have far more strength, willpower and fortitude that they will ever get credit for. If they were looking for an easy escape, they’d be at the bottom of a whiskey bottle, not fighting the government, the military, the VA and their fellow soldiers to legalize a plant they can already get illegally.

          Cannabis saved me when I was ready to end it all. It helped me sleep, it reduced my anxiety, it allowed me to get out of high-alert mode and stop obsessing over how much of a failure I felt I was. It allowed me to feel good about life and gave me a reason to keep fighting for my own survival. It allows me to eat when the meds make me nauseous, gives me motivation when the meds sap my will to do anything and lets me enjoy doing it. It helped me quit smoking cigarettes and lose 80lbs. It saved my life and my marriage.

          The best part? I was 300% opposed to the idea of medical marijuana as any form of actual treatment. Marijuana was a dating dealbreaker for me. All it was good for, judging by my first-hand experience as a teen in the 1990s, was getting stupid. I didn’t start using pot after 20+ years of adamant disapproval to feel better, I started because I wanted to destroy myself. I didn’t WANT to get better anymore, I wanted it to end so I didn’t have to live another 40, 50, 60 years in this nightmare.

          No one should have to live like that when something so simple can have such a huge positive impact on their entire lives. It destroys me that our service men and women can give up so much of themselves for everyone else in this country, but when they ask for help, they are treated to this kind of abuse by people who supposedly understand what they’ve been through. Instead you add to their shame, stress and depression by stigmatizing them based on your dated concepts.

          • Iggy Sanchez

            It’s sad that these “vets” think comeraderie is a one-way street. We agree with their dope smoking or else!

            Nope, it doesn’t work like that. Just because YOU are hooked on drugs doesn’t mean it’s right. That’s addiction and it’s clouding your judgement.

            And as a combat veteran and taxpayer, I will NOT agree to fund your habit.

          • MeddedK8

            Coffee has higher addictive potential than cannabis. Never mind if you add sugar. The fat in the cream isn’t good for you either, I shouldn’t have to pay for your diabetes and high cholesterol and high blood pressure. Or your ulcers, kidney stones and dental work.

            All of us are hooked on loads of drugs of various levels of addiction and harm. I was opposed to legalization and even the concept of cannabis as treatment until a few years ago. Not just “no, drugs are bad” opposed. I was “How are you not in prison, pathetic burnout loser?” opposed.

            It was my ego and all the garbage propaganda from the “no is the only answer” crowd that clouded my judgment.

            I’ve got no “Or else!” to scream at you. I don’t need to threaten you into accepting what I do or believe. If you feel threatened by my practicing my right to learn, speak my mind, argue our laws, vote to change them and question the motives and decisions of the government employed by the people – well, it’s kinda what you fight for.

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  • Joe

    I am a disabled vet with PTSD and the alternative is to keep taking all these drugs that have horrible side effects. Marjiana has had help ease the nightmares and helps in everyday tasks. I just wish I knew about this before my dad killed his self from his PTSD and he was on 24 pills a day.

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