Safer relief for veterans? New York approves use of medical cannabis for PTSD
12/19/2017 // David Williams // Views

Last month, Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York commemorated Veteran's Day by signing into law a complete legislative package that's designed to honor and further support veterans who are residing in the Empire State. The package is a set of five legislative bills aimed at improving healthcare and services, as well as memorializing veterans throughout the state in a number of ways. One of them finally grants a longstanding wish by many that will directly improve the quality of life of all veterans -- that is, the approval of Post-Traumatic-Stress-Disorder (PTSD) as a qualifying condition for medical marijuana.

One of the biggest problems being faced by veterans who are living in America today is PTSD. It's a condition that is known to develop in some people who have gone through a shocking, dangerous, or scary event. Those who suffer from it often experience flashbacks, anxiety, and even nightmares as symptoms of the condition. U.S. veterans are certainly no exception.

In a statement that was released in the governor's official state website, he said, "Our veterans risked their lives in order to defend the ideals and principles that this nation was founded upon and it is our duty to do everything we can to support them when they return home." The bills he signed are meant to improve access to healthcare treatments and services, as well as remove barriers to employment. His goal is to give veterans every opportunity to continue succeeding when they get back home in the U.S.

Details of the legislation

The set of bills signed by Governor Cuomo solve problems that have all been known to affect a great number of living veterans. But the one about the treatment of PTSD, in particular, seems to be the biggest one of all. Normally, the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) would allocate a budget for Medicare expenses, on which they spent $6.3 billion in 2016, but never has that included the purchase and use of medical marijuana until now.


According to New York State Senator Diane J. Savino, she introduced the bill in order to guarantee the best treatment available for veterans. "New York is home to some of the bravest service members in the nation and in addition to residents suffering from PTSD due to other traumatic experiences, this legislation will ensure that everyone receives the effective treatment they deserve," explained Sen. Savino.

The bill that approves the use of medical marijuana for PTSD will be applicable not just for veterans but also for other individuals such as police officers, firefighters, and domestic abuse survivors.

Benefits of medical marijuana

It has been a little over 3 years since New York first legalized the use of medical marijuana, and at this point, it's quite safe to say that there have been many who have benefited from it. There are a number of known benefits to using medical marijuana which, include pain relief and easier pain management, reduced inflammation, and improved immune response. It has also been used to improve sleep and appetite in patients, both of which would definitely help in the case of veterans who are suffering from PTSD.

Another benefit of using medical marijuana to treat patients is that it helps reduce their use of prescription drugs, something that often becomes a problem in some patients due to addiction. This is true mainly for painkillers, which aside from giving pain relief also give a feeling of euphoria in patients. The use of medical marijuana could have a similar function as these drugs without putting them in harm's way.

Read more about the latest development medical marijuana legislation across the country on

Sources include: [PDF]

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