Marijuana reductions hurt PTSD vets: wife

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Marijuana reductions hurt PTSD vets: wife

Post by Trooper on Wed 21 Jun 2017, 06:25

Marijuana reductions hurt PTSD vets: wife


ANDREA GUNN OTTAWA BUREAU
Published June 20, 2017 - 7:56pm
Last Updated June 20, 2017 - 7:56pm

Medical marijuana can be injested in many ways, here it is prepared as a pot of marijuana tea.

When Anna’s husband, a military veteran with severe PTSD and chronic pain, is not taking his doctor-recommended 10 grams of marijuana a day, he turns into a different person.

When not properly medicated, Anna’s normally calm husband and the father of her adult children becomes verbally abusive.

“What I can get from the psychologist is when the PTSD is bad, it’s bad — and they usually take it out on their loved ones, so it’s either me or one of his children.”

The Newfoundland woman says she’s at the end of her rope.

“He’s wished death on us, he’s called me a whore, he tells me his problems are all my fault,” said Anna, who has asked to remain anonymous.

In late November, Veterans Affairs Minister Kent Hehr announced that the limit for reimbursement for medical marijuana would be reduced from 10 grams to three grams per day as a cost-saving measure, and that Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC) would only reimburse a total of $8.50 per gram. Those changes came into effect last month, affecting more than 2,000 veterans.

Under the new policy, veterans can seek an exception if they have a letter from a specialist with a rationale related to their condition for the amount of marijuana they require. Originally, patients with chronic pain and a psychiatric condition required a letter from both specialists to request an exception but, in May, VAC responded to concerns from veterans and changed that policy so that only one letter was required.

In Anna’s husband’s case, that letter could be either from a psychiatrist or a pain specialist. Since the wait list to see a psychiatrist in much of Newfoundland can be months if not more than a year long, Anna said her husband opted to see a pain specialist and successfully obtained a letter recommending him for 10 grams a day.

Anna claims VAC denied the request because the pain specialist her husband saw was not a member of the Canadian Academy of Pain Management.

But of the more than 100 member doctors on the academy’s list — ranging from dentists to psychologists — there are none in Newfoundland or even Atlantic Canada.

Anna’s husband is currently on a wait list to see a psychiatrist and is trying to get connected to an approved pain management specialist.

In the meantime, their family cannot afford for her husband to purchase the medication without reimbursement through VAC. Instead, they have been attempting to supplement his insufficient three grams a day with increased psychologist visits while they try to seek a resolution through an official VAC review, which she said she was told can take up to 12 weeks and does not guarantee a reconsideration of the file.

Anna said her husband’s pain and PTSD symptoms have gotten so bad he’s considered obtaining the marijuana illegally, something that would likely cause him even more stress.

While they’re in this period of limbo, Anna said she fears for her husband and herself.

“I can’t take it no more,” she said.

Now, Anna said, when she sees the “rage in his eyes,” as hard as it is for her, she just has to leave.

“I don’t know if he’ll be dead or alive when I get home,” she said.

The Chronicle Herald reached out to VAC for additional information about their exemption policies and for comment but no response was provided by our print deadline.

http://thechronicleherald.ca/novascotia/1479573-marijuana-reductions-hurt-ptsd-vets-wife





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