Last week, the New York State Assembly approved legislation that would add post-traumatic stress disorder to the list of qualifying conditions for the state's medical marijuana program. This week, the bill has advanced in the state Senate, making it one step closer to becoming law. Out of the 29 states that have legalized medical marijuana, 26 have approved PTSD as a qualifying condition.

“We have a lot of veterans who are not being treated adequately or are not responsive to treatment. Medical marijuana . . . is in essence is a natural way to treat Post Traumatic Stress Disorder,” Dr. Laszol Mechtler, director of DENT Cannabis Clinic in Buffalo, said. “Medical marijuana has two components, THC and CBD. The CBD component helps with sleeping, helps with anxiety, helps individuals react to stress.”

“We need to do our do diligence with any medical or clinical treatment and look into it, but if it benefits vets or those with PTSD then it’s something we should certainly explore,” Roger Woodworth, Iraq war veteran and President/CEO of Veterans One-stop Center of Western New York, said. “Personally I don’t think there’s a cure for PTSD, I think it’s something you have to work on.”

Dr. Mechtler pointed out that although using medical marijuana as a treatment for PTSD looks promising, further research is necessary to truly explore the benefits and potential risks of the treatment. “I would say this is the best option for now, but I have no proof of that. Just because I’ve seen patients that swear by it is not enough,” he said. “The research has to be done.”