For the second time in a month, a Colorado veterans group has sponsored a free giveaway of marijuana to veterans. The first event was held in Denver and drew approximately 200 veterans, the second event in Colorado Springs drew a crowd of almost 1,000 veterans.
The events are sponsored by Operation Grow4Vets, whose co-founder and executive director, Roger Martin claims the group is trying to bring the benefits of marijuana to veterans who suffer from medical problems related to their service.
Only ten states in the country allow prescription marijuana treatment for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), but Colorado recently passed recreational marijuana laws that allow representatives from Grow4Vets to give pot products away. Each veteran was given cannabis oil, chocolate, and marijuana seeds to cultivate their own plants.
The problem with the giveaway, and use of marijuana by veterans who are receiving treatment at the VA, is that marijuana use is illegal at the federal level. Unless you have a prescription for it, you can lose your veteran’s benefits. In some states, even having a prescription is no protection against losing these benefits. This includes any treatment for PTSD.
“No veteran should have to risk benefits or feel stigmatized when they use medical marijuana,” said Art Way, senior Colorado policy manager for the Drug Policy Alliance.
Additionally, the jury is still out on whether or not pot is an effective treatment for PTSD. Although the THC in marijuana softens the fear response, which seems to drive PTSD, the body quickly builds up a tolerance for THC, making it harder to control as time goes on.
There are a number of veteran’s organizations that are leading the charge for allowing changes to be made to the federal laws allowing veterans to smoke without losing their benefits, but the process is slow and will take time.
With the beneficial aspects of marijuana under scrutiny and recreational use up, not just in the states where it is legal, but across the country, it would be easy to jump on this bandwagon and shout for complete legalization and use in PTSD cases, but I am not convinced. Although I am not denying there are benefits to using marijuana, I am also not convinced that it is the miracle drug that many groups are claiming.
More studies need to be funded and done. If medical marijuana helps veterans, legalize it and make it available to them, but we need to see the science here, not just anecdotal evidence that pot use makes people feel better. Until that happens, veterans are left in a lurch. Medicating with marijuana can be a hazard to continuing to receive veteran benefits.
At this point, the law of the land is that marijuana use is illegal, on the federal level. Until that changes, be smart and avoid marijuana use.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are the opinion of the writer and do not reflect the policies of this website or organization.