Lindy, a young tattoo artist, army veteran, and single mom in Jersey City, New Jersey, drops her son off at preschool, walks into her apartment, rolls a joint, and takes a few hits before washing the breakfast dishes.
She tells the story of a recent altercation with a relative on Facebook, who accused her of being a bad mom because she uses cannabis. What the relative doesn’t know is that Lindy’s a registered New Jersey medical marijuana patient with a diagnosis of PTSD.
“I’m likely to go from zero to sixty if you trigger me just right,” she says. “I don’t mean to let things get to me like that; I try not to, but my brain goes into autopilot and it knows nothing in between calm and tragic.”
Her therapist, who diagnosed her with PTSD and borderline personality disorder, abides by the American Psychological Association’s opposition to using cannabis for PTSD. “She hates that I smoke it,” says Lindy. Lindy has tried other psychiatric medications, but “It seems that I am the poster child for negative side effects. The last meds that were prescribed to me caused permanent nerve damage to my foot.” She went to another doctor to get her medical card.
Cannabis is the only medication that helps calm her, as is the case for so many other patients in New Jersey and New York. Lindy can finally buy her favorite strain, Blue Dream, at her local dispensary. Her message to other people who might be thinking about using cannabis for PTSD is: “Do your research.” Thanks to the wealth of strain information at New Jersey dispensaries, that’s more possible now than ever.
Access to Cannabis is Different Across State Lines
On the other side of the Hudson River, in New York City—about a 10-minute trip on the PATH train—massage therapist Rebecca takes a cannabis oil capsule. Like Lindy, she has been diagnosed with PTSD and is registered with her state’s medical cannabis program.
“I personally don’t love smoking actual flower,” says Rebecca. “The ability to have capsule forms of oil as well as the vapes is wonderful. I enjoy the fact that I can buy a pure indica. It’s nice to know what you’re getting, and that [is] exactly what your body needs.”
The problem is, Rebecca doesn’t know anything more about the oil in her capsules; she has no idea what strain she’s ingesting. She knows it’s an indica, she knows the ratio of THC to CBD is 1:1, and that’s it, because that’s how New York dispensaries work.