By Arturo Brooks |Staff Writer|
Substance use disorder (SUD) has risen with veterans using medical marijuana for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in the past fiscal years.
From 2002 to 2014, the use of marijuana has risen 22.7 percent in veteran community, according to Veterans Affairs (VA).
As of 2014, 40 thousand veterans with both SUD and PTSD were diagnosed with cannabis use disorder, according to VA.
According to Dr. Smith, there are problems associated with the use of medical marijuana.
“Physical dependence is a state that develops as result as tolerance or adaptation from the result of use of the drug disrupting the bodies biochemical,” said Smith.
“Marijuana use by individuals with PTSD may lead to negative consequences such as marijuana tolerance,” according to VA.
“You can develop a tolerance to the euphoric effect,” said Smith.
This means the individual using marijuana would need higher doses. With higher doses needed, the more dependent one will be on marijuana.
Individuals with PTSD could have a difficult time quitting their treatments due to addiction, as well as having a hard time responding, if they have treatment to this addiction.
Veterans without PTSD have less cravings and withdrawal than those with PTSD.
Marijuana has some other negative effects that are not only physical and mental, but effective on life.
“Personal marijuana use can disqualify for certain jobs, especially law enforcement,” stated Jason Greene, a Coast Guard Veteran and criminal justice major.
In an email sent from the VP of Administrations and Finances, “As a recipient of federal financial aid funds, CSUSB is required to follow federal law, which supersedes the new legislation in California,” also known as Prop. 64.
This means that while marijuana legalized in CA, it’s still considered illegal at CSUSB.
This includes the possession, use, consumption, transportation, cultivation and/or sell of marijuana on campus, including on campus housing, according to the VP of Administration and Finances.
Since the majority of veterans are attending college using Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and GI Bill it causes a conflict of interest.
“You have to look at the cost benefits of the treatment versus the problem,” said Greene.
“If a veteran has PTSD to the point where he cannot function as a student, and marijuana allows him/her to be able to attend classes and succeed in an academic environment, then why not let him smoke on campus?” continued Greene.
The same views were not shared between fellow students here at CSUSB.
Anakary Stewart, a student, stated, “Yes, so long as they are not showing up to campus high.”
“Again, I believe marijuana legislation should mirror alcohol legislation across all spectrums, i.e. students over the age of 21 will face consequences for showing up to campus drunk despite alcohol being fully legal for people over the age of 21. These same consequences should be extended to marijuana users,” stated Stewart.
Even though marijuana has negative effects, it also has positive effects for other common issues affecting veterans.
“Only 6 percent of studies on marijuana analyze its medical properties,” according to Business Insider.
This means we do not know what is more effective, the pro or con of marijuana on veterans.
“A growing number of studies demonstrate that that these patients can tolerate trauma-focused treatment and that these treatments do not worsen substance use outcomes,” according to the VA.