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Michigan to study effects of marijuana on vets with PTSD

The state will devote $40 million over the next two years for clinical trials
Posted at 5:41 PM, Mar 18, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-18 21:05:27-04

WYOMING, Mich. — The state of Michigan has $45 million to distribute, the amount collected in taxes and licensing fees since launching recreational marijuana sales late last year. As they continue to collect those fees, it was announced that $40 million over two years will go to studying the effects of cannabis on veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder.

RELATED: Small towns getting thousands of dollars in tax revenue thanks to marijuana sales

Few details have been finalized. A spokesperson for the Michigan Marijuana Regulatory Agency told FOX 17 over the phone Thursday that MRA is in the process of finding groups to conduct the study, or studies, as there will likely be more than one. It could be another six months before those groups are chosen.

For veterans like Derek Cox, an army vet who served a tour in Baghdad with the 101st Airborne, it can’t happen soon enough. Cox suffers from PTSD, and until a few months ago, when he started using cannabis, was on a regimen of pills that nearly caused his liver to fail.

“You feel numb, to everything: the good, the bad; nothing makes you happy anymore,” said Cox. “I started trying [cannabis] and I realized the more I was trying it…the less I needed the pills.”

After just a few months of using marijuana, Cox says he’s all but weaned himself off his pain meds and anti-depressants. He’s more clear-headed, can sleep better at night and isn’t as irritable or jumpy.

RELATED: Beyond PTSD and TBI, the mental health challenges some veterans battle in silence

“It’s helped me calm down; it’s helped me listen to my wife to just say, ‘Honey, it was just the ice maker; it was just the dryer turning off,’” he said. “It’s not a cure-all, but it’s a much better help than any pills that I’ve been on.”

Veterans have a much higher rate of suicide, oftentimes linked to cases of PTSD, and Cox is hoping more vets can see the same benefits he has.

“I’m incredibly excited,” Cox said of the studies. “I have been to too many of my own friends’ funerals for giving in to suicide caused from the PTSD. I have struggled with that myself; I still struggle with it.”

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