With a number of states mulling legalization of marijuana for recreational or medical purposes in 2016, the year holds a lot of significance for advocates of freeing the use of cannabis. And with Ohio legalizing cannabis for medicinal purposes recently, now 25 states or an estimated 175 million Americans have access to medical marijuana. In a recent development, New Jersey legalized medical marijuana for treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Petitions and appeals by Veterans and recommendations by medical marijuana advocates convinced the New Jersey Assembly to pass a bill allowing the inclusion of PTSD to the list of illnesses that qualify a patient for medical marijuana program in the state. Passed on June 16, 2016 with 55 votes in favor, the law came at a time when the National Center for PTSD (NCPTSD) is observing June as the PTSD Awareness Month to educate Americans about the existence of PTSD and its possible treatment options.
The provisions of medical marijuana policy are different in all the 25 states that have allowed medical marijuana use. The medical marijuana programs in some states allow the use of weed only for certain debilitating medical conditions and the non-inclusion of PTSD on this list has made the war veterans and military men unhappy who prefer the drug to treat pain, anxiety and depression related with trauma.
The New Jersey Medical Marijuana Program currently has 6,636 registrants waiting to receive effective medicinal marijuana intervention for the treatment of PTSD.
PTSD patients turning to marijuana for relief
While the use of medical marijuana is still deemed illegal in most of the states, its effectiveness in the treatment of PTSD is still being studied by the Department of Veterans Affairs. Until recently, Veterans addicted to painkillers and prescription opioids were tirelessly looking for alternative medications for pain management and trauma-related disorders. Fear of dependence on opiates turned Veterans to the local cannabis community who provided them with medical marijuana free of cost, even before the legalization of medical marijuana use.
During the inaugural meeting of the state Medicinal Marijuana Review Panel held at the Trenton War Memorial building recently, a few PTSD patients were allowed to share their experiences relating to the difficulties they have to face due to the disorder. Stressing on the need to include PTSD as a qualifying condition for New Jersey’s Medical Marijuana Program, Bridgewater, 41, a Trenton resident said, “Please — we are dying. We are killing ourselves. I’m shocked PTSD has not been added.”
Echoing the views of Bridgewater and thousands of Veterans like him waiting for the treatment, Jim Miller from the Coalition for Medical Marijuana for New Jersey said, “More than 600 participants in the program have already died. It’s a sign that people who signed up for the program were severely ill and needed it. Before the meeting was over, it was likely that at least two Veterans will have taken their lives.”
More Americans in favor of medical marijuana use
The bill became a law after Quinquennial University National poll results showed 87 percent of Americans voting in favor of PTSD Veterans being prescribed marijuana pills. Commenting on the results, Tim Malloy, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll, said, “If you serve your country and suffer for it, you deserve every health remedy available, including medical marijuana in pill form. That is the full-throated recommendation of Americans across the demographic spectrum, including voters in military households.”
Road to recovery
Being diagnosed with PTSD must not be seen as a sign of weakness. In fact, people living with the disorder have set an example for other mental health patients who are constantly struggling to lead normal lives.
If you or your loved one is suffering from any mental disorder, including PTSD, it is important to seek certified medical help. At the Sovereign Mental Health Services, our specialists offer various mental health treatment options across America. You may call at our 24/7 helpline number 866-954-0529 for further information about various mental illnesses and their treatments available at our centers.