Marijuana is not just the best drug, it’s the only drug that consistently helps people suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, a parade of doctors, researchers and veterans told a panel of lawmakers Thursday.
At issue is Senate Bill 281, which would add PTSD, as it’s commonly called, to the list of qualifying conditions for medical marijuana use in Oregon.
“We have failed to find any medications at this point that provide consistent benefits” for the thousands of war veterans and others who suffer from the disorder, said Bryon Krumm, a psychiatric nurse practitioner at the Sage Neuroscience Center in Albuquerque, New Mexico. “It’s all pretty much been a crap shoot up to this point.”
Marijuana, however, has been shown to soothe anxiety, help with sleep and calm suicidal urges, Krumm said. Other physicians from Oregon and around the country, some speaking to the committee by phone, concurred.
Doctors have found that treating PTSD patients with marijuana — a relatively inexpensive and non-toxic drug — has helped replace anti-psychotic medication and alcohol as a way to cope, said Dr. Frank Lucido, of Berkeley.
The Senate Health and Human Services Committee held a hearing on the bill to get clinical advice. The bill next goes to the Senate Judiciary Committee for legal questions.
Among the speakers at the 2 1/2-hour hearing was Jose Garza, a vet who recently got out of the military and has had trouble controlling his anger. After he started smoking marijuana, he said, his life improved dramatically.
“I’m not a hippie, I’m not a stoner. I’m not a criminal,” Garza said. “I’m a United States veteran, and this is what saved my life.”