Real Voices on Marijuana and PTSD Treatment

Real Voices on Marijuana and PTSD Treatment

The Stranger is a Seattle alt-weekly, and it’s probably most famous for being the pages where Savage Love, Dan Savage’s internationally syndicated sex advice column, found its first audience.

Generally, the paper treads the typical beat—music, movies, food—of a local rag. But over the years, The Stranger has also produced many truly compelling pieces with relevance nationwide.

Now, with Seattle’s high-profile presence as one of the few cities allowing recreation marijuana use, we can likely expect some interesting takes on cannabis culture, from fun takes on getting high, to more serious pieces, like Tobias Coughlin-Bogue’s excellent story on how some Seattle veterans are using marijuana to treat their PTSD.

“It’d be natural to assume many veteran’s suicides result from traumatic combat experiences. But one of the factors which makes the transition from the sands of Iraq or Afghanistan to civilian life so frightening is the inability to wind down from a constant, near-manic state of readiness.”

The United States has, essentially, remained at war since the invasion of Afghanistan in 2001. And while our forces remain the best trained and most equipped in history, our men and women in uniform have paid a tremendous price, on and off the battlefield.

Suicide rates for veterans are truly appalling, with 22 active or current service members taking their lives every day.

For many, it’d be natural to assume these deaths the result of traumatic combat experiences, and likely, many are. But in reading Coughlin-Bogue’s interviews with three anonymous subjects, it’s clear one of the factors which makes the transition from the sands of Iraq or Afghanistan to civilian life so frightening is the an absolute inability to wind down from the constant, near-manic state of readiness which engaging an enemy requires.

That constant tension has driven legions of veterans to alcohol and harder drugs, and fractured many relationships along the way. So it’s great to hear stories about how marijuana is helping some folks return stateside without the terrible side effects— regardless of whether the federal government thinks it’s a useful treatment for PTSD. Check out the whole story here.

[ via The Stranger ]

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