SAN ANTONIO – Amanda Berard is a mother, a University of North Texas grad student, and a veteran who suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder.
At 19-years-old, Amanda enlisted in the Army to become a combat medic. While in the Army, she was sexually assaulted, which led to her PTSD.
“I experience it with depression and in hypervigilance,” Berard said.
According to the Department of Veteran Affairs, 23 of every 100 women that use the VA say they have been a victim of sexual assault.
In order to deal with her PTSD symptoms, Amanda says that doctors in Texas can only do one thing:
“You’re given a cocktail of medication,” Berard explained. “A cocktail of pharmaceutical pills. I have five or six different medications that I’m supposed to take. The prescriptions, I feel, are like a Band-Aid solution.”
That “cocktail” is not what Amanda believes is best for her, and that is why she is currently working on a thesis paper that studies the effectiveness of cannabis for veterans with PTSD.
She also advocates with the Texas chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML).
“I’ve traveled all over Texas and seen first-hand what cannabis can do for these veterans,” Berard noted. “I’ve gone out of state to talk to the medical marijuana refugees about how they felt.”
Groups like Texas NORML have been spending a lot of time at the Texas Capitol in Austin lobbying Congress and even dropping off letters at the