Military vets push for medical marijuana to treat PTSD - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Military vets push for medical marijuana to treat PTSD

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WDRB) -- Military veterans suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder are pushing Kentucky lawmakers to approve a drug they say will help them.

That drug is marijuana.

Advocates for medical marijuana have tried several different approaches to make their case to lawmakers in Frankfort.

Their new approach is lobbying on behalf of disabled veterans, many of whom say they would benefit from legal marijuana.

Army Veteran Danny Belcher says he came home from Vietnam in 1969 physically and mental scared, and admits smoking marijuana illegally gave him relief.

"Smoking marijuana got me off being a drunk. Smoking marijuana got me off being hooked on all the VA drugs," Belcher said. "I got off all of them with the help of a little self motivation, but if something is available naturally, lets visit that area open-mindedly."

During a hearing, veterans told lawmakers medical marijuana was nothing short of a miracle drug for treating PTSD, but treatment experts say there is no medical research to back up those claims.

"We looked pretty extensively and there is no evidence at this point for the use of medical marijuana in the treatment of PTSD," said Mary Sweeney, an official with the Louisville VA Hospital.

Someone who remains officially uncommitted is new KY Veterans Affairs Commissioner Heather French Henry.

"We have heard from a number of veterans and veterans groups in support of this issue," Henry stated. "However, we have not done through research to be able to take a stand if we can take a stand on the issue or not. But, we’re always open to getting information and research in."

Advocates say they’ll keep pushing to win skeptics.

"If it gives a quality of life back, why not do it instead of drugging these veterans up and destroying their livers, their lifestyles," said Belcher. "Let them have a quality of life back so they can be productive citizens again."

So far, no marijuana bill has been pre filed for the 2015 session, but supporters say they’re working on that.

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