Amanda Berard is a mother, a University of North Texas grad student, and a veteran who suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder.
She was sexually assaulted while in the Army, which resulted in her PTSD.
“I experience it with depression and in hypervigilance,” Berard said.
According to the Department of Veteran Affairs, 23 of every 100 women that use the VA say they have been a victim of sexual assault.
In order to cope with her PTSD symptoms, Amanda says that doctors in Texas can only do one thing:
“You’re given a cocktail of medication,” Berard described. “A cocktail of pharmaceutical pills. I have five or six different medications that I’m supposed to take. The prescriptions, I feel, are like a Band-Aid solution.”
That “cocktail” isn’t what Amanda believes is best for her, which is the reason why she’s presently working on a thesis paper that studies the effectiveness of cannabis for veterans with PTSD.
She also advocates with the Texas chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML).
Groups like Texas NORML have been spending lots of time at the Texas Capitol in Austin lobbying Congress and even dropping off letters at the governor’s office. The main aim for this particular group is better medical marijuana laws.
Texas State Senator José Menédez from San Antonio agrees with groups like NORML that medicinal marijuana should be accessible just like a number of other prescription drugs available on the market.
Two years back, Texas did pass the Passionate Use Act, which only allows cannabis in the form of an oil for children with one very particular type of epilepsy.
Menédez would like to see more health conditions like PTSD added to the list of sicknesses accessible for medicinal marijuana use. That is certainly the reason why he filed Senate Bill 269 for comprehensive medical cannabis use.
According to the National Center for PTSD, two out of every 10 veterans with PTSD also have substance use disorder (SUD). The VA says that an average of 20 veterans commit suicide nationwide every single day. Lots of those victims suffered from PTSD.
Menédez said that he has heard from many veterans that tell him the present medications they’re prescribed aren’t working and, in many cases, make them feel worse.
Although the Passionate Use Act was signed by Texas Governor Greg Abbott, he opposes the legalization of marijuana in Texas.
A recent University of Texas/Texas Tribune survey found that 83% of Texans support making marijuana legal for medical purposes.
In all, 28 states along with the District of Columbia have legalized marijuana for medicinal use. Although Texas doesn’t appear to be joining that list, Amanda and Senator Menédez say that other states’ success gives them hope.
The United States Department of Veterans Affairs has recognized that as marijuana use is approved by other states, cannabis might be used to treat PTSD. However, the group also says that there haven’t been particular controlled studies to assess effectiveness or the safety} of marijuana as treatment for PTSD.