by Harold Dawley, Ph.D & Marine Corps Veteran

Marijuana prescribed by a physician can be a safe and helpful alternative to the ever increasing cost of prescriptive drugs.

A recent report in US News states we spent $333 billion in 2017, up from $236 billion in 2007 (a 40+ percent increase). There is growing concern over not only the increasing cost of many prescriptive drugs but their risks of major side effects. We’ve all seen the drug commercials for listing the potential serious side effects including in some cases death.

Drug abuse is another increasing problem for some prescription drugs that can affect all age groups, including teens. The prescription drugs most often abused include opioid painkillers, anti-anxiety medications, sedatives and stimulants. Allowing physicians to prescribe marijuana can provide a safer, effective, and less costly alternative to prescription drugs that have a high risk of addiction.

In states where marijuana has been legalized veterans suffering from PTSD are finding relief using it under the supervision of a physician.

The best explanation of how marijuana works in PTSD came from a combat veteran who told me it lowers his emotional distress from a 5 down to a 2 and allows him to live a more normal life. A large number of veterans suffering from PTSD have already found relief in using marijuana.

Passage of laws allowing physicians to prescribe marijuana is a better alternative to PTSD veterans than seeking it from illicit sources. Research is needed to truly determine the value and safety of marijuana in treating PTSD.

Virtually every pharmaceutical prescribed to help us also have negative side effects. Take the simple aspirin; it provides wonderful relief from pain, headaches, and other problems, yet can kill us if we take too much of it.

It’s the same with many other prescriptive or over the counter pharmaceuticals. Marijuana is a pharmaceutical that has been used for thousands of years to treat a variety of health problems without any record of anyone dying directly from its use.

Why force those who seek marijuana for its health benefits to turn to the illicit marijuana market wherethere is no assurance of what they will be ingesting?

Support Initiative 65.

Dr. Dawley is the Past President, American Psychological Association Division of Psychologists In Public Service Past President, and National Association of Veterans Affairs Psychologists.