Statistics have revealed that around 20% of military veterans suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD. PTSD can have symptoms that include nightmares or flashbacks, avoidance of situations that bring back the trauma, heightened reactivity to stimuli, anxiety, or depressed mood.
Marijuana could be a life-saver for veterans suffering from PTSD. According to 42-year old veteran Leo Bridgewater, medical marijuana has the power to control the symptoms of PTSD – allowing them to lead normal, productive lives among that portion of civil society that has never seen combat.
In a Huffington Post article, Bridgewater recounts that he first turned to the idea of medical marijuana through his uncle’s advice, who was in the Special Forces in Vietnam.
“It was through his guidance that I started looking at cannabis as a way of treating my knee pains and then also, my overall health, my overall emotional health,” said Bridgewater. “That’s the one thing that we don’t really pay too much attention to, because it’s the thing that you can’t see.”
Medical marijuana may be legal i over half of the United States but it is still classified as a Schedule I dangerous drug under the DEA’s Controlled Substances Act. Physicians working with Veterans Affair can’t even say the word to patients as its against the law.
“When you get into bed at night, you’ve got to decompress and stuff, but cannabis takes all of that away. It does. It literally does,” Bridgewater noted. “You’re moving better, and you’re feeling better, before you even realize you do.”
“I knew I was getting better, when I started using cannabis and CBD oil,” he said.
Bridgewater is pushing for activism so that military vets can be treated with medical marijuana.
“It doesn’t match the rhetoric in terms of patriotism,” he said. “Patriotism is not relegated to just while we’re at war. Patriotism is indicative of how you treat the men and women who fought for you.”