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.”