Joel Salgado, Christopher Duran, Jose Calderilla What are the ethical conflicts associated with using marijuana to treat people with PTSD? Conflict is composed of opposing forces. MULTIPLE PERSPECTIVES The two sides of the conflict are that people with PTSD want to use marijuana and some people don’t want them to use marijuana for medical purposes. According to Mark DiPasquale, a former marine stated “Retired Marine staff sergeant Mark DiPasquale says the drug freed him from the 17 opioids, anti-anxiety pills and other medications that were prescribed to him for migraines, post-traumatic stress and other injuries from service that included a hard helicopter landing in Iraq in 2005.”After trying pot he stated this and said it helped him more than anything else he tried. He acknowledges the benefits of using marijuana to prevent other negative results of PTSD like suicide. But the opposing side of this conflict are the federal laws. Some people are against marijuana businesses because they think marijuana is a gateway drug. According to an article, who are appointing this side stated, “But he has already asked Senate leaders to roll back rules that block the Justice Department from bypassing state laws to enforce a federal ban on medical marijuana.” They are talking about Attorney General Jeff Sessions who is in the task force that wants to shut down marijuana businesses. They say marijuana links to crimes which is why they want to shut them down. This could impact states like California that not only legalized medical marijuana, but has legalized recreational marijuana in 2018. In our survey we administered, 83% of the people said yes, they should use marijuana for medical use. 7% said they shouldn't and 10% of people said that they don’t know . So most people say people with PTSD should be able to use marijuana to help them with their disorder because of the positive effects. But there is some people say that they shouldn’t and that they should just try other things, and the rest don’t know what side to choose or don’t care. About 20% of the population in the U.S develops PTSD which is about 44.7 million people. These statistics show the perspectives of the 120 people we surveyed.
Conflict may be natural or man-made. ORIGINS The conflict of being for or against marijuana used as treatment for PTSD is both natural and man-made. It is natural because PTSD is a natural disorder in the brain chemistry that people can get from traumatic events and marijuana is a plant. However, it is also man-made because people sell marijuana to people. According to learnaboutmarijuanawa.org, they stated that “Cannabis is derived from the cannabis plant (cannabis sativa). It grows wild in many of the tropical and temperate areas of the world. It can be grown in almost any climate, and is increasingly cultivated by means of indoor hydroponic technology.” However, because PTSD is sometimes caused or originates from trauma through war, car accidents, and other violent or dangerous events, the event that creates PTSD is also a man-made issue. “Post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms may start within one month of a traumatic event, but sometimes symptoms may not appear until years after the event. These symptoms cause significant problems in social or work situations and in relationships. They can also interfere with your ability to go about your normal daily tasks (mayoclinic.org).” It is natural to get PTSD if you go through a traumatic event but it definitely takes time to develop to actual PTSD. Here are the brain scans of a person with PTSD versus a person without PTSD: As one can see, the PTSD patient has more activity and higher mGluR5receptor availability, which shows the natural processes that happen in the brain of a person with PTSD.
Conflict may be intentional or unintentional. IMPACT The use of marijuana to treat PTSD is intentional because its use as a way to treat people is debated. There are many experts who are for it and against it. “PTSD symptoms are generally grouped into four types: intrusive memories, avoidance, negative changes in thinking and mood, and changes in physical and emotional reactions.” When people with PTSD show these symptoms, marijuana may be able to help them. Therefore, using such drugs to cope with their symptoms is an intentional decision. When a person with PTSD uses marijuana, they may be impacted in positive and negative ways. People with PTSD think marijuana should be legalized in other states because people say it helps them more than any other drugs the doctors prescribe them. According to Thomas James, a former U.S marine,has stated “I slept 10 hours instead of my usual five or six. I woke up feeling energized and well rested. I didn’t have nightmares or remember tossing or turning throughout the night, as I usually did. I was, as the comedian Katt Williams puts it, “hungry, happy, sleepy.” He said marijuana helped him the most out of any other drug that the doctors gave him, he felt himself again. He wanted more because he thought that was his solution to his PTSD. But unfortunately for him he found out that marijuana was illegal in his state, North Carolina. That is why using marijuana for medical purposes to treat PTSD is an intentional one because there is evidence that proves it helps PTSD patients live better and more productive lives.
Conflict may allow for synthesis and change. CHANGES OVER TIME CONTEXT Conflict will eventually change within this and PTSD rates will go down but for now we just have to try and make it easier to help PTSD. The circumstance of this is that for now marijuana will remain illegal in some states and and other states have legalized it. Laws have changed over time because marijuana was illegal but now they made it legal for medical purposes. By context we mean that it depends where they are and how that place makes them feel which changes how they act. Drugs right now being used for medical treatment is marijuana. According to governing.com, “Thirty states and the District of Columbia currently have laws broadly legalizing marijuana in some form.Eight states and the District of Columbia have adopted the most expansive laws legalizing marijuana for recreational use.” Therefore, depending on the context, such as location, state, and the current times or trends of having more states legalize medical marijuana, patients of PTSD can use marijuana to help cope with their PTSD symptoms. This may change, however, if the federal government creates a regulation that bans states from allowing medical marijuana. Conflict is progressive. CHANGES OVER TIME TRENDS This will change over time because more states might legalize pot. Patterns that have changed is that no states liked marijuana use but now more and more states are legalizing marijuana such as, California, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, Colorado, Massachusetts, Vermont, Alaska, and Maine. This conflict is relevant in 2018 because people get PTSD and say they need to legalize more drugs to help them with PTSD or else they will commit crimes or suicide. “Veterans now account for 20% of all suicides in the U.S., with the youngest (18–24 years of age) four times more likely to commit suicide than their non-veteran counterparts of the same age(ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)”. This is a problem we need to fix because these veterans that aren’t getting the proper treatment. Laws change sometimes and a law that was recently changed was legalizing marijuana.
LANGUAGE OF THE DISCIPLINE PTSD is short for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and the causes for it are traumatic events from military experience, sexual abuse, injuries and more. This can cause flashbacks and can affect sleep and people’s personality towards others. People who can’t handle PTSD sometimes commit suicide. According to drugabuse.gov, marijuana is “the most commonly used illicit drug in the United States.1 Its use is widespread among young people. In 2015, more than 11 million young adults ages 18 to 25 used marijuana in the past year.”
In our SLR, we asked a question about using drugs, like marijuana, to treat people with PTSD and the majority of people said using marijuana for PTSD treatment was a good idea. However, the people we surveyed were Californians, and we know that California passed a law that makes marijuana legal in 2018. This causes ethical controversies between people who think marijuana should be legalized for people with PTSD and others who say they just want it legalized as a gateway drug. That is why in some states, marijuana is considered illegal and wrong, while in other states, it is considered safe and allowed. According to Robert L. DuPont, he stated “The legalization of marijuana increases availability of the drug and acceptability of its use. This is bad for public health and safety not only because marijuana use increases the risk of heroin use.” A gateway drug is any drug that leads to drug addiction. That’s why he thinks if people use marijuana, they might try another drug which can lead to addiction.
Some unanswered questions are:What are the reasons why people think marijuana should not be legalized for PTSD?What groups think that marijuana should be legalized?What were the reasons they made marijuana illegal in the first place?What can be a solution for people who want to legalize pot because of PTSD and people who don’t because it can lead to crimes and can be used as a gateway drug?
OriginWar or traumatic events is an origin of the conflict between people with PTSD and their need for treatment. Illegal drugs (in some states) such as marijuana have also caused this conflict to exist.
PARALLELS Global conflict: The global conflict is that people who went to war or had a traumatic event get PTSDCommunity conflict: This can cause problems in a neighborhood because they can cause trouble when there are medical marijuana dispensaries or when people in public spaces are under the influence. Personal conflict: This affects us personally, not because we use marijuana, but because we live in California, where marijuana is legal. However, if there are federal changes made, then medical marijuana may not be allowed anymore, which would affect the people in our community who depend on marijuana to help them overcome medical problems, like PTSD.
STUDENT-LED RESEARCH: SURVEY Our student-led research was a survey. We chose to do our research this way because it would be good to get multiple perspectives on this problem. This connects to our driving question because we need to know what the conflicts are with using illegal drugs to treat post-traumatic. We decided to only survey adults who are 18 or older. In total, we received 120 responses. Although the responses may not reflect how the entire country feels about these issue, they do tell us a lot of information about how people in our community view the issue and conflict. What we learned: We learned that most people are ok with people with PTSD to use marijuana as a way to help them, but the other drugs most people don’t want them to use. Some people put that people with PTSD can use ecstasy and crystal meth, but very little people chose that option SURVEY QUESTIONS
Should people with PTSD be allowed to use illegal drugs? 1. Do you believe that the benefits of using illegal drugs to treat people with PTSD can outweigh the dangers of those drugs? (Optional) Why do you feel that way? Please explain your answer to the previous question. 2. Do you believe that marijuana should be used as medicine? 3. Do you believe that ecstasy should be used as medicine? 4. Do you believe that crystal meth should be used as medicine? 5. What are some concerns that may come up with using illegal drugs like marijuana, crystal meth, or ecstasy when treating patients suffering from PTSD? Check all that apply. What is your age? We asked these questions because they relate to our driving question since we need to know how other people feel about this topic.