Two veterans suffering from PTSD and chronic pain from the injuries of war but with two different opinions on how to treat it. Clifford Deuvall’s return to civilian life has been a constant battle - dealing with multiple surgeries and powerful medications.
Veteran Scott LaMarca also struggles with his own demons. PTSD used to keep him up at night with flashbacks of the violence he saw on the frontlines.
"My mind just over time experienced one traumatic situation," LaMarca said. " to the next to the next and me holding it in, it finally released and it just started happening with nightmares."
Using marijuana to treat patients with PTSD and chronic pain is legal in 29 states, yet some Texans suffering feel that they are being left out.
Texas does allow for treatment of a very specific type of epilepsy with low-THC cannabis oil… but for PTSD, there is currently no option.
But, there is a bill currently in front of the Senate that would give the many veterans and civilians with PTSD the option to use medical marijuana. Senator Jose Menedez authored Senate bill 269 and believes that Texas is behind the times.
"Many many veterans have come to my office asking for this bill, whatever products have medical aptitudes or qualities that they can be used for people we should let the medical profession decide that," said Senator Menendez.
Current heavy opioids used to ease veterans suffering include oxycodone and even methadone, which, some complain, can leave them in an almost vegative state.
Still the VA does not condone the use of medical marijuana and new research released this year on the impacts of marijuana use says that users of any demographic or health status are four times more likely to suffer a heart attack.
But the feeling from veterans like Scott LaMarca is that drugs of any sort are not always the answer to lead a normal civilian life.
"I've always been against drugs period and I believe the mind is very very strong and I think the mind helps heal your body, I just feel what's best for me is to stay occupied, " remarked LaMarca.
Many who support marijuana reform in Texas agree that the stigma behind the drug is hampering current support for the bill, with some people not realizing that smoking it is only one option, with creams and oils also considered viable ways of treatment.
“It’s not for everybody and it’s not for every illness and it’s not going to help everyone. But for those individuals it will help should it not be a viable alternative,” Deuvall said.
And with the clock ticking in Austin, advocates are now in a mad dash to push through a bill they say will save lives.
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