Congress approves federal bills that would allow Veterans Affair - FOX Carolina 21

Congress approves federal bills that would allow Veterans Affairs doctors to recommend medical marijuana

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David Bingham, army veteran, believes medical marijuana could help treat his PTSD. (FOX Carolina/ May 20, 2016) David Bingham, army veteran, believes medical marijuana could help treat his PTSD. (FOX Carolina/ May 20, 2016)
GREENVILLE, SC (FOX Carolina) -

David Bingham tries to relax whenever he can.

"First couple of years I wouldn't come out of the house," Bingham said.

Between 2007 and 2008, he found himself in a firefight on the front lines of war in Afghanistan as a soldier in the Army.

"Here comes the mortars on us and it knocked us out of the pit," Bingham said. "I had no use of my arm and it just caused so much pain. I had two surgeries and they went through the front with one surgery and it helped, but I had to go with the next surgery that went through my back."

He also experienced anxiety and doctors diagnosed him Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD. It's a disorder that develops when people experience shocking or dangerous events.

"They said I was Unemployable with PTSD, I have traumatic brain injury, chronic headaches," Bingham said.

He believes medical marijuana could get him off opiates and help treat his PTSD.

"I had like 30 bottles at one time," he said.

Congress recently approved two federal bills that would allow Veterans Affairs doctors to recommend medical marijuana programs to veterans if it's legal in their states. However, V.A. doctors are still prohibited from prescribing medical marijuana.

State Sen. Mike Fair represents Greenville County and voted no back in April on a state proposed medical marijuana bill.

"Law enforcement people in South Carolina and probably nationwide - a huge percentage are opposed to legalizing marijuana," Fair said.

The use of hemp oil is legal is South Carolina for medical use and Fair says drug companies should do more research.

"Perhaps they can develop a drug with chemical components from cannabis - the cannabis plant that is less addictive," Fair said.

However, Bingham says veterans need help now.

Fair says he is and will always be a supporter of veterans and he can't imagine what they and their families go through when dealing with PTSD. However, he says statistics show marijuana leads to increased D.U.I. cases throughout the country and he calls it a gateway drug.

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