A campaign is on in Oregon to add post traumatic stress disorder to the conditions that qualify for medical marijuana usage. The state has an estimated 300,000 veterans of which more than 20,000 have served in Iraq and Afghanistan, some of whom are affected by PTSD to a great extent, Oregon Live reported.
Studies have shown that about 20 percent of veterans serving in the Iraq and Afghanistan suffer from PTSD.
Oregon is one of the 17 states in the U.S. where medical marijuana is legalized. Currently, people who have certain conditions like cancer, glaucoma or chronic pain can use medical marijuana.
"We treat it like any other new treatment technique: We want to see it studied. We want to see increased research to see if it's a viable solution," said Jason Hansman, senior program manager for the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America. Hansman's group represents 145,000 veterans, Oregon Live reports.
However, not all are convinced. Marijuana is an addictive substance and its use to treat PTSD can lead to other problems.
"People have to realize marijuana is very addicting," Darryl Inaba, director of clinical and behavioral health services at the Addictions Recovery Center in Medford, said to Oregon Live. Inaba notes the drug "causes both physical and emotional addiction."
Some states like New Mexico have included PTSD in the list of conditions where a person can use medical marijuana.
Adding PTSD to the list of medical marijuana uses will not be easy. In the past 14 years, just one condition- agitation related to Alzheimer's disease - has been added to the list of conditions where a person can use marijuana legally.
PTSD is a type of anxiety that affects a person after he or she has experienced a traumatic event that involved threat of injury or death. Anti-depressants and sleep medications are often prescribed to people who suffer from this disorder. However, few researchers feel that the current treatment options aren't enough.
"We are at this point because there are limited treatment options for people with PTSD," Dr. John H. Halpern, an assistant professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and researcher at McLean Hospital. Halpern is one of the few researchers in the U.S. to have conducted clinical trials on human subjects using highly addictive drugs, Oregon Live reports.