Why Do We Love Pets and Hate Vets?

By: Jordan Bentle

One of the embarrassing blights on Colorado’s medical and recreational cannabis market has been the exclusion of PTSD as one of the qualifying conditions for patients to use medical marijuana. Reading of Senate Bill 17-017 that would add Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Acute Stress Disorders to the list of debilitating conditions that would qualify for a medical marijuana prescription was once again pushed back to April 10 by the Colorado House of Representatives.

No conditions have been added to the medical marijuana list by the Colorado Department of Health since 2001. SB 17-017 Senate bill, cosponsored by Sen. Irene Aguilar, D-Denver, and Sen. Jonathan Singer, D-Longmont, passed 34-1 on February 3rd. It has since stalled in the House.

Now this doesn’t mean that activists and legislation haven’t tried to get PTSD through in the past, but it’s been blocked. In 2015, the Colorado Department of Health voted 6-2 to not add PTSD to the list of debilitating conditions ignoring tons of anecdotal evidence and testimony from patients and veterans on the positive effects of cannabis has had on their PTSD.

Many veterans and individuals with Acute Stress Disorders have been using the state’s recreational market to medicate, but this puts those individuals at a disadvantage of paying much higher prices and taxes than they would receive on the medical side. The current tax rate for Colorado on recreational marijuana purchases is 10% plus the 2.9% state sales tax, plus any additional local taxes. Medical marijuana will only be subject to the 2.9% state sales tax, plus any additional local taxes. Not only would they pay higher prices, but if they are veterans then they also run the risk of losing benefits for being a medical marijuana user.

CBD, or Cannabidiol, has shown promise in helping some individuals to alleviate anxiety, reduce epileptic seizures, help with Crohn’s Disease, decrease inflammation and pain management, and protect against nervous system degeneration. CBD does not contain THC, so patients do not feel the euphoric “high” when using CBD.

CBD products have gained tons of popularity in not only helping children with seizures and other debilitating conditions, but the popularity of CBD products for our canine friends have exploded as well. CBD has shown to help dogs with separation anxiety from their owners, reducing joint pain, and itching.

Now you can get CBD and THC products without a medical card, but medical products many times will have higher dosages to better treat patient issues and conditions. To get the same amount of medication on the recreational side, individuals need to pay higher prices, and can’t talk with their doctor on how to best use it.

The fact that dogs can get better access to cannabis than veterans of our armed forces is a tragedy.

I’ve worked with veterans, and PTSD affects them in different ways. However, in all the  individuals I have know to use it, it has quelled anxiety, persistent thoughts, and insomnia.

Personally, I have experienced the benefits of CBD infused products with both pain and anxiety. Six years ago I was in a dirt bike wreck leaving me with a compression fracture in my T3 vertebrae, swollen knees, a concussion, and hole in the side of my tongue. The doctor prescribed opioids immediately following the crash; I was dependent on them in a very short period of time, so I immediately went off them. The over prescription of opioids is why we are seeing such a terrible heroin overdose crisis in the U.S, and I had no intention of going down that path. There is data now that shows opioid deaths go down on average 25% in states that legalize medical marijuana.

I was informed by my orthopedic surgeon 3 years later that I had indeed had a compression fracture, and most people recover with no pain, but some will experience pain the rest of their life. I was in the latter camp. My use of CBD infused products using an olive oil based delivery system has helped in reducing the inflammation and spasms that have plagued the muscles around the T3 vertebrae. It’s something I will continue to explore as a treatment because it has worked for me in my own health issues.

The reason opponents claim for the refusal to put on the medical marijuana conditions list is that the tons of anecdotal data is not enough to sway their decision to recommend it for inclusion, and that more scientific studies are needed before they will make a decision.

There are a number of studies looking at medical marijuana, like the DEA approved study that the  Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) is running to determine the effectiveness of cannabis on treatment resistant PTSD. Recently, John Hopkins University pulled out of the MAPS study due to the cannabis being grown by the government was filled with mold and very poor quality.

Hopefully, Colorado’s legislature will do what is necessary to provide veterans and others suffering from PTSD and Acute Stress Disorders the treatment and help they need.

They’ve earned it.