2015-10-10 03:21:47

For millions of soldiers returning home from war, the battle doesn't ever end. Although they may no longer be in harm's way, many vets continue to feel the effects of the dangerous situations that they were put in overseas due to symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD. Many medical experts feel that vets with the condition are suffering needlessly, and the story of one such soldier is helping to push the fight for medical marijuana legislation in Pennsylvania.

A Mother Leads the Fight

Debates over whether or not to legalize medical cannabis in Pennsylvania have been underway for some time, but in June, proponents for the legalization of pot for medical use made their pleas very publicly. At a rally in the state capital of Harrisburg, a group of veterans, physicians, vets' families, and advocates rallied together to call upon lawmakers to expedite laws to legalize the use of weed for medical purposes in the state.

Donnamarie Freedman, mother of the now deceased Corporal Dane Freedman, was among those gathered. She took to the microphone to tell the world about her son who was diagnosed with PTSD after a tour overseas. The VA hospital prescribed Corporal Freedman 20 different drugs, and while they caused him plenty of side effects, they did not fully alleviate his symptoms. What did help was pot, and with the help of weed, Corporal Freedman was able to function better.

Symptoms of PTSD

Unfortunately, he had difficulty procuring the drug because it is completely illegal in Pennsylvania. Ultimately, he took his own life after bingeing on alcohol when he was unable to get weed one night. Donnamarie argues that if her son had access to medical cannabis, his death could have been prevented.

Doctors and Vets Unite

A number of other people spoke at the rally, echoing Donnamarie's sentiments. Among them was Corporal Barret Thompson, a vet who suffers from PTSD just like Corporal Freeman had. He shared openly about how medical marijuana has allowed him to lead a full life, doing what more than 40 drugs could not. A scientist involved in studying the benefits of pot for vets with PTSD, named Dr. Sue Sisley, was also at the event. In front of the crowd, she shared facts about how weed helps ease both the physical and emotional symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder.

Harms Caused by Different Drugs

The Future of Medical Marijuana in Pennsylvania

Despite the efforts of the group who attended the June rally, the State House Health Committee did not vote to push ahead with a medical cannabis bill; however, that doesn't mean that the issue is dead. The Pennsylvania Medical Cannabis Task Force is still working on a bill, making it important that those who are for the legalization of weed for medical use reach out to their state lawmakers and share their opinions.

Medical Marijuana research on PTSD

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