Twenty-eight states plus the District of Columbia now include PTSD in their medical cannabis programs, a tally that has more than doubled in the last two years, according to data compiled by the pro-legalization Marijuana Policy Project. A 29th state, Alaska, doesn’t incorporate PTSD in its medical marijuana program but allows everyone over 20 to buy pot legally.
“I’m back to my old self. I love people again.” In a sign of how much the issue has taken hold among veterans, the 2.2-million-member American Legion began pressing the federal government this summer to let Department of Veterans Affairs doctors recommend medical marijuana where it’s legal.
Medical cannabis 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.
“It’s quite a sea change,” says Michael Krawitz, a disabled Air Force veteran who now runs Veterans for Medical Cannabis Access, an Elliston, Virginia-based group that’s pursued the issue in many states.
Jamaica is taking steps to legalize the plant to follow suit, as they believe that it will help thousands of people while also bringing in a lot of revenue. Still, there remain questions and qualms – some from veterans – about advocating for medical marijuana as a treatment for PTSD. It was stripped out of legislation that added six other diseases and syndromes to Georgia’s law that allows certain medical cannabis oils.
Medical cannabis advocates note it’s been tough to get evidence when testing is complicated by pot’s legal status in the U.S. A federally approved clinical trial of marijuana as a PTSD treatment for veterans is now underway in Phoenix, and results from the current phase could be ready to submit for publication in a couple of years, says one of the researchers, Dr. Suzanne Sisley.