It is unfortunately quite common for members of our military to return from the battlefield suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). “Charlie,” who asked the news service AlterNet not to use his real name in a recent interview, is one of them. On top of a 100 percent disability rating with PTSD, Charlie returned home from Afghanistan with a traumatic brain injury, a back injury, and gastrointestinal problems. Veterans Affairs did everything it could to treat him and to ease his pain, but nothing worked.
What did work was using marijuana, which Charlie says has been the best pain management he’s found. “Me and the rest of my veterans’ group talk about it all the time,” he says. “Most of them also medicate with marijuana. If you asked any of us what, out of everything, was most effective in PTSD treatment, we would tell you marijuana.” But since VA is a federal agency, it is prohibited from recommending or dispensing marijuana, even in the 13 states where medical marijuana is legal.
Supporting our troops, especially when they return home from battle is an issue I think everyone can get behind. So, why is the federal government not allowing our troops to use the medicine that works best for them?