For veterans in states with restrictive medical programs, acquiring the medicinal benefits of cannabis means breaking the law. [dropcap]T[/dropcap]here are almost 900,000 military veterans living in New York State, and as many of 20 percent of them may suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder; if they served overseas in Iraq or Afghanistan or if they were in Vietnam — that number may be as high as 30 percent, according to the Veterans Administration.
To call PTSD a debilitating nightmare is not an exaggeration: Sleepless nights, anxiety-filled days, and suicidal thoughts are common. The most common treatment is a pharmaceutical cocktail: anti-depressants, anti-anxiety drugs, and opioids.
To hear veterans themselves tell it, many of them would prefer to smoke weed.
The Veterans Administration is overwhelmed with PTSD sufferers who want to use cannabis to control their symptoms. But since the VA is federal, vets have to turn to state medical marijuana programs.
But many don’t even bother with that: According to the VA, more than 20 percent of PTSD sufferers also suffer from “cannabis use disorder” — a nice, clinical way of calling someone a total pothead.
Veterans living in California — home to several large military bases and many veterans — have no trouble getting cannabis, but they’re the lucky ones. In Illinois, veterans with PTSD can use cannabis now only after a judge ordered it.
In New York State, if a veteran with PTSD wants any cannabis, he or she will probably have to break the law. If they want to smoke any cannabis, they will absolutely have to break the law.
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