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Pot for PTSD: new rules to aid veterans

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PHOENIX (KSAZ) - DHS Director Will Humble resisted authorizing medical marijuana for PTSD. But he changed his position after hearing more evidence, some of it anecdotal, and some of it scientific, suggesting pot can help calm the jangled nerves of PTSD.

Ricardo Pereyda was a U.S. Army MP in Iraq, he says he suffers from PTSD. He tried to ignore it, but PTSD doesn't fade away.

"There is a pride thing, an ego thing, I am okay, I can handle it, I need to suck it up and move on, deal with everything that has happened. Try to live my life," he said.

But PTSD needs to be treated and for sufferers of the disorder, Arizona DHS says part of getting better may include using medical marijuana.

"Definitely, it helps them feel more comfortable, they are in a fight or flight mode because of the fear, one in ten women have PTSD. They get it from trauma and car accident as well, but veterans specifically benefit," said Chelsea Mulligan.

Of all the varieties of medical marijuana, the folks at Bloom Dispensaries say Bubba Kush is a popular strain for veterans suffering from PTSD. The advantage is it's good for relaxation without causing any anxiety.

"There are a hundred different scenarios that run through my head, and cannabis quiets that," said Pereyda.

Under the new DHS rules, vets with PTSD will not be able to just go into a dispensary and buy pot. They will have to be receiving medical treatment from a doctor, and the medical marijuana will be to simply relieve their symptoms.

The new rules take effect January 1st 2015. DHS will work closely with doctors and dispensaries to develop procedures and an education program before that date.
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