By Steve Elliott
More and more states and considering allowing military veterans and others with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) to use medical marijuana for relief. But many veterans aren't waiting for permission.
Military veterans are increasingly using medicinal cannabis, although it remains illegal in most states and is frowned upon by the Department of Veterans Affairs, reports the Associated Press.
Marijuana does a lot better managing anxiety, insomnia and nightmares than the harsh pharmaceuticals approved by the federal government and handed out by the VA, according to many former members of the military. Prescription drugs such as Zoloft and Klonopin are often ineffective and make them feel like zombies, many veterans said.
"I went from being an anxious mess to numbing myself with the pills they were giving me," said 39-year-old former Marine Mike Whiter of Philadelphia, where marijuana is still illegal. "Cannabis helped me get out of the hole I was in. I started to talk to people and get over my social anxiety."
After Andy Zorn got home from serving with the Army in Iraq, he suffered from PTSD and self-medicated with cannabis. The VA diagnosed him with "marijuana dependence" as well as depression and bipolar disorder, according to his mother, Sally Schindel of Prescott, Arizona.