Pubdate: Fri, 07 Aug 2015
Source: Chicago Sun-Times (IL)
Copyright: 2015 Sun-Times Media, LLC
Author: Joel Erickson


While the Chicago Sun-Times' Editorial Board begins commendably 
enough Thursday by asking Gov. Bruce Rauner to sign the extension for 
the medical cannabis pilot program, it then asks people who suffer 
from posttraumatic stress disorder to wait an indefinite period of 
time for relief from addiction and overdosing on opioid pain killers, 
which are the staples of most regimens of current treatments for PTSD.

While the Editorial Board gave some credence to the realities of 
PTSD, it is not possible to say PTSD exists and then ask people to 
wait for non-opioid relief for it unless there's doubt that PTSD is a 
real condition.

When I testified in favor of SB33, I heard the same arguments 
outlined in your opinion piece from senators with no apparent medical 
background. When I made the case for adding PTSD in front of a board 
of medical professionals, they agreed with the evidence, my story, 
and that currently 11 other states allow PTSD as a qualifying 
condition for their medical cannabis programs.

Twenty-two veterans take their lives each day. Those should be 
sobering numbers that call on our state and federal leaders to be 
looking for answers and solutions. We've tried waiting, with 
disastrous results. It has been shown that states with medical 
cannabis programs see a reduction in suicide rates. Giving veterans 
and civilians with PTSD the option to use cannabis as a therapy 
instead of addicting pills, or FDA-approved medication that carries a 
black label that states that suicidal thoughts are a known side 
effect is not only the compassionate thing to do, it's the right thing to do.

Joel Erickson, Plainfield
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