Best Defense

Thomas E. Ricks' daily take on national security.

Pot, PTSD, and Colorado

I generally am a libertarian when it comes to marijuana and such. On top of that, I also think people burdened by PTSD should be allowed to take relief wherever they can find it, as long as they don’t hurt others. Even so, I doubt that smoking pot is a good answer for PTSD. After ...

Wikimedia
Wikimedia
Wikimedia

I generally am a libertarian when it comes to marijuana and such. On top of that, I also think people burdened by PTSD should be allowed to take relief wherever they can find it, as long as they don't hurt others.

Even so, I doubt that smoking pot is a good answer for PTSD. After all, today's powerful pot is not only a sedative, it is also a hallucinogen. That doesn't seem to me to be a good ingredient to add to someone having bad dreams or adrenaline-fueled reactions to loud sounds and other unexpected events.

So I suspect the state of Colorado likely is right in rejecting marijuana as a treatment for PTSD, especially because I have heard bad things about its interaction with anti-depressants. On the other hand, it will be mighty interesting for the U.S. Army if marijuana is prescribed for PTSD -- will it then allow soldiers to use it?

I generally am a libertarian when it comes to marijuana and such. On top of that, I also think people burdened by PTSD should be allowed to take relief wherever they can find it, as long as they don’t hurt others.

Even so, I doubt that smoking pot is a good answer for PTSD. After all, today’s powerful pot is not only a sedative, it is also a hallucinogen. That doesn’t seem to me to be a good ingredient to add to someone having bad dreams or adrenaline-fueled reactions to loud sounds and other unexpected events.

So I suspect the state of Colorado likely is right in rejecting marijuana as a treatment for PTSD, especially because I have heard bad things about its interaction with anti-depressants. On the other hand, it will be mighty interesting for the U.S. Army if marijuana is prescribed for PTSD — will it then allow soldiers to use it?

My personal feeling is something Stacy Bare has written about, that at least part of the answer for many people is to spend time in nature, the prettier the better. And Colorado has a lot of that to offer. Just be careful during hunting season.

Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military from 1991 to 2008 for the Wall Street Journal and then the Washington Post. He can be reached at ricksblogcomment@gmail.com. Twitter: @tomricks1

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