One of the most distressing facts about PTSD is that it can lead to substance abuse as people try and self-medicate their symptoms. This is one of the big reasons why we think legalizing cannabis can help many veterans.
Unfortunately, PTSD can lead to an addiction to opioids, which is now a leading public health issue in this country. One solution for this is to make medical marijuana readily available in every state, immediately.
Think that sounds extreme? Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) doesn’t seem to think so.
Senator Warren, Opioid Addiction, and Legalizing Cannabis
As one solution to the opioid addiction epidemic in the U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) has proposed investigation into medical marijuana.
We’ve seen a lot of Senator Warren this week, as she joined Hillary Clinton on the campaign trail. Speculation of an historic Clinton-Warren ticket is flooding the media, so this is a topic we’re following closely.
What is the link between opioid addiction, PTSD, and medical marijuana? And what does Senator Warren think we should do? Here’s what you need to know.
PTSD Can Lead to Opioid Addiction
Some military veterans who suffer from PTSD may be self-medicating with opioids. In an attempt to minimize the symptoms of PTSD, they obtain prescription painkillers from their doctors, friends, or family. And as we’re all painfully aware, opioid addiction is now an epidemic in our country.
Medical Marijuana is a Replacement for Painkillers
An astounding 80 percent of medical marijuana users say they are replacing prescription painkillers like opioids, according to research published in the journal Drug and Alcohol Review.
Here’s what Senator Warren has to say.
Senator Warren Urges the CDC to Do Something
In a letter to the Centers for Disease Control this past February, Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) urged “swift and immediate action”. Citing a 65 percent increase in opioid overdose in her home state, one of her suggestions was investigating whether medical marijuana might help solve the problem.
Her letter urges the CDC to learn more about the effectiveness of marijuana for pain treatment. It also calls upon the Center to explore the impact of legalizing cannabis for both medical and recreational use to help stop opioid overdose deaths.
In the final statement in her letter, she again stresses the importance of identifying “other ways to aggressively tackle this issue.” Seems she is very open to the idea of legalizing medical (and recreational) cannabis.
Let’s all keep an eye on this effort for legalizing cannabis, since it promises to have impact for everyone.
- Lucas, Philippe et al. Substituting cannabis for prescription drugs, alcohol and other substances among medical cannabis patients: The impact of contextual factors. Retrieved from http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/dar.12323/abstract
- Fact Sheet: Opioid Abuse in the United States.Retrieved from https://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/ondcp/Fact_Sheets/opioids_fact_sheet.pdf
- Letter to Dr. Thomas Friedan, CDC. Retrieved from http://www.warren.senate.gov/files/documents/2016-2-8_Letter_to_CDC_re_opioid_epidemic%20research.pdf