Some veterans believe medical marijuana is more effective than opioids for treating certain combat-related side effects.
Many veterans have come to the reasoning that the option of medical marijuana would more sensible, compared to continued use of opioid-based pain medication. It offers a natural remedy for pain and post-traumatic stress disorder.
Matthew Rumple, a twenty-one-year-old Army and Air Force veteran stated that it is ironic that marijuana is seen as a Schedule 1 drug.
“We have more of the worst drugs in our systems now than that could ever do to us.”
He grew up having a negative outlook on drugs, yet after an injury, he received in Iraq, he found himself hooked on morphine. He stated that he liked the high morphine provided, loved the invincible, destroy-everything-kill mode.
“I hated the most had now become the one way I could survive.”
Currently, the federal government has been able to keep marijuana on the same ranking as many opioids, but this prohibits Veterans Affairs doctors from being able to recommend medical marijuana to veterans, even if it is legal in the state where they reside.
Rumple, who has rehabilitated since 2015, now assists other veterans. He stated that many veterans are experiencing negative effects from the opioids prescribed by the doctors, the drugs are known as a “combat cocktail.” It is a variation of drugs depending on the patient.
“It has become a nightmare. For a lot of guys, it starts their world of opioids.”
Many are addicted to opioids and medical marijuana would be a reprieve.
After a workplace injury, Brenda Ross was prescribed opioids which she became dependent on for years, even after her service with the Alabama National Guard. She was recently introduced to medical marijuana, and since then has stopped using opioids. She stated that she thinks that medical marijuana is the best answer that we have, not just for intractable pain, but for veterans that are suffering from PTSD.
The term cannabis is preferred by Rumple, as to his believes it separates medical marijuana from the recreational factors. He has not used it because it is prohibited to him by the federal government.
“The federal government has got a law against it. It’s a criminal act.”
He stated that he would not advise anyone to lose their VA benefits. He thinks more research is needed on medical marijuana as well as providing veterans with all options that could assist them.
Congressman Matt Gaetz wants to pass a legislation that would release some of the restraints on medical cannabis, which would enable more research and slacken the restraint on the VA doctors. This would also allow specialists to notify veterans of the ongoing research trials in their general area. Gaetz has just introduced a bill to House council that would remove marijuana from a Schedule 1 drug to a Schedule 3 medication for medical purposes, similar to that of steroids.