Marijuana & PTSD: KCMO veteran hopes for change

Posted at 9:56 PM, Apr 26, 2017
and last updated 2017-04-27 05:32:59-04

A group of Missouri veterans will head to Colorado on Thursday for a conference dealing with medical marijuana and how it can help treat post-traumatic stress disorder.

The "1st Annual Institute of Cannabis Research Conference” will be held at Colorado State University and feature tours of legal dispensaries and grow operations.

Vietnam veteran George Biswell will be one of 22 Missouri veterans traveling to the conference. Biswell will be one of 22 Missouri veterans traveling to the conference.




"I think just about anybody who served in Vietnam deals with some form of post-traumatic stress," he told 41 Action News.

Biswell served in the United States Air Force and was sent overseas to help in the Vietnam War in 1969.

"I served 17 months on the beautiful island of Taiwan," he said. "I was very fortunate to have the assignment that I did given the period of time where I could have been." 

As a member of the Air Force Security Police, Biswell avoided the battlefield and horrors of war.

However, he knows many others weren't so lucky. Since then, Biswell has talked and worked with Vietnam veterans suffering from PTSD. He said he has seen many of them deal with multiple struggles on a daily basis.

"It can be tough being able to trust people, go outside, have a relationship with children, brothers and sisters," he explained.

As a way to cope with their struggles, Biswell said he has seen a particular thing make a big difference: medical marijuana.

"Talking with veterans I know personally, it works for them," he explained. "It allows them to accept the situation they're in and live with it."

Following his trip to Colorado later this week, Biswell said he hoped to use the information he learns to possibly convince lawmakers to legalize medical marijuana in Missouri.

"Is cannabis for everybody? Absolutely not. It's not for everybody but it should be available," he explained. "I want to get the information to try and convince my legislators and convince Veterans Affairs and say 'Hey, we need to be moving forward with this.'"

More than 20 states across the country currently have laws legalizing medical marijuana.

However, the drug remains illegal in both Missouri and Kansas.