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Veterans must choose between opiates and marijuana

A veteran rallying for medical marijuana in Nacogdoches earlier this year.
A veteran rallying for medical marijuana in Nacogdoches earlier this year.

Many times, veterans do not have the same luxuries as others in choosing their medication, as they risk losing one if they take another.

According the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), almost 1.7 million veterans reside in Texas, making it the second largest state where veterans call home.

An estimated 1.3 Texans consume marijuana on a regular basis based on surveys conducted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

It is a fair bet that many of those veterans are consumers of cannabis, which is the scientific name of marijuana.

Numerous studies have shown that this non-toxic plant has many medicinal qualities, and researchers have begun studying the effects of marijuana on those who are having to cope with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Of course you don’t have to be a veteran to suffer from PTSD, however soldiers who have returned home from war report that cannabis helps them sleep through the night, and takes the edge off. Many others consume cannabis in an effort to help treat pain sustained from war injuries. The consensus among veterans is that marijuana helps, far more than it could ever possibly harm.

Not only do they receive the benefits of cannabis, but it also helps them to offset their use of prescription medicine, which can be very harmful to their organs, especially opiates. It also reduces alcohol consumption, which is often mixed with medication and leads to further damage, and in some instances an overdose.

The VA also has a study which suggests that at least 18-22 veterans commit suicide each day. Many veterans report that this is often due to the amount of medication they are on. If a non-toxic plant can help a person reduce their medication intake under the supervision of a doctor, this should be an avenue for medical professionals to consider.

If a veteran tests positive for cannabis, they are immediately cut off from all prescriptions however. A recent policy change by the VA prevents this from happening in states where cannabis has been legalized for medical use, however this does not help our veterans in the Lone Star State. VA doctors are not permitted to recommend medical cannabis either.

In general, people can be denied organ transplants simply for testing positive for cannabis.

Despite the medical efficacy of cannabis, it remains a Schedule 1 drug.

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Stephen Carter

Stephen Carter is a 30 year old journalist and information technology specialist living in Waco, Texas. He has been working with the cannabis movement since 2009. He founded Texas Cannabis Report in 2013 to bring Texans accurate cannabis related news.

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