Marijuana is becoming more and more useful in the world of medicine. Although there is still a lack of knowledge available, numerous studies have been performed and have highlighted the positive impact that Marijuana can have on health problems and other issues. While pot is sort of a taboo subject, it is something that many people are finding a use for in their own medicine cabinet. Surprisingly enough, vets may benefit from Medical Marijuana more so than the average person.
Why would vets use Marijuana?
For those who do not know, Marijuana has been found to treat a variety of illnesses and issues. Until recently, Marijuana was most commonly used by vets as an effort to relieve post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms in those who have been in a war. To the surprise of many people, it was quite effective for relieving the debilitating anxiety that ex-soldiers with PTSD would have. In more recent times, Marijuana has been looked at as a potential substitute for opioid painkillers. In fact, the opioid epidemic is becoming a big problem in this country. Especially among ex-soilders.
What are opioids?
Opioids are a class of substances which act in the brain to relieve pain. Similarly to morphine and oxycontin, it sedates the muscles and generates a numbing sensation. They are often prescribed to those suffering from chronic pain. While they work effectively, they are extremely addicting and dangerous. A study performed in 2011 which analyzed veterans affairs concluded that veterans were two times as likely to overdose on opioid than their fellow, non-veteran counterparts. Keeping that in mind, let’s talk about why Marijuana could be a safer alternative. First of all, Marijuana has been found to be relatively non-addictive. Even if someone uses pot every day for a matter of years, they can stop cold turkey and not experience anything more than mild symptoms (if that). On the other hand, someone taking opioids or painkillers like oxycontin would have serious, possibly life-threatening withdrawal symptoms if they were to do the same thing. Another benefit of using Marijuana rather than opioids is that you cannot overdose on it. In an effort to reduce the amounts of overdoses in our country, it seems as if substituting the deadly drugs with non-deadly substitutes would be a good idea. The last reason why Marijuana should be used as a substitute to opioids for vets is that it works just as, if not more effectively. Not only will vets receive relief from chronic pain while using Marijuana, they will also receive all of the other benefits such as:
- Anxiety relief: Like we said before, Marijuana can be great for calming the mind and allowing someone to relax. Typically, someone who works in the military becomes used to a very rigid schedule where relaxing is unheard of. Trying to adjust without the aid of medicine can be debilitating and military personnel often come home with severe anxiety.
- Prevention of neurodegenerative disorders: In an attempt to protect our retired military personnel from developing possibly life-ending diseases, the fact that Marijuana can prevent things like Parkinson’s disease is another good reason why it should be readily available to vets.
- Insomnia relief: With anxiety, traditionally comes insomnia. Insomnia is simply when you cannot sleep at night. While this may not seem all too bad, it is very frustrating and hard on your body. Marijuana’s sedative-like effects can help users fall and stay asleep easier.
- Euphoria: Although this pertains to another subject, vets are also more likely to become depressed than their counterpart. For that reason, it is safe to say that Marijuana has yet another benefit for vets which is the fact that it can generate happiness and possibly even bring them out of depression.
Bills that affect our vets
In an attempt to help our military vets specifically, our government has passed and regulates a handful of bills which specifically give vets certain rights or allowances. Interestingly enough, there are a handful of government bills that apply directly to the use of Marijuana for vets. Let’s dive a little deeper into each of those bills.
VA Medicinal Cannabis Research Act
House of Representatives bill number 5520 is in the act of becoming passed and has a “good chance to do so” according to connectingvets.com The Virginia bill would allow for more research to be done on the drug and its effects.
The Veterans Equal Access Act
House of Representatives bill 1820 has been proposed and is undergoing processing. If the bill were to pass, it would allow for Medical Marijuana to be legally tendered to military vets.
To provide for the rescheduling of marijuana..
House of Representatives bill 2020 is officially titled ‘To provide for the rescheduling of marijuana into schedule III of the Controlled Substances Act.’ It would allow for Cannabis to be classified as a schedule 1 drug rather than the schedule two classification that it currently holds.
Marijuana Justice Act
The Marijuana Justice Act is a bill proposed in the Senate with bill number 1689. It was put in place as an attempt to remove Marijuana from its controlled substance classification and also protect legal dispensaries and growers from being unconstitutionally raided.
To top it all off, there is a bill that simply aims to legalize weed as a whole. If it were to pass, Marijuana would likely be treated in the same manner as alcohol throughout the entire country. Hopefully, one day this will pass and put an end to the opioid epidemic.