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Colorado veterans sue for access to medical marijuana to treat PTSD

DENVER -- Medical marijuana has been used to treat everything from cancer to cataracts, but in Colorado, it cannot be prescribed to treat post traumatic stress disorder. That's the reason behind a lawsuit by some veterans against the state.

Among them is Curt Bean, who spent this teenage years in Iraq. The U.S. Army scout and sniper learned a valuable lesson: Kill or be killed.

“Talking about taking lives is never easy, especially when you are the person making the decisions," Bean said. "It’s never something that you take lightly.”

When Bean returned to the U.S., he found himself in a fight with depression and anxiety.

“I drank a lot, stayed in bed a lot, avoided people,” he said.

Bean was diagnosed with PTSD by the Department of Veterans Affairs and was prescribed a powerful antidepressant that only made things worse. Then he tried recreational marijuana and felt relief.

"I was like, 'Wow, I'm sleeping better, I have less anxiety. I’m able to function day to day,'” Bean said.

While medical marijuana is approved to treat PTSD in several states, Colorado is not one of them.

Denver attorney Bob Hoban is representing Bean and several other veterans in a lawsuit against the state, asking Colorado to give PTSD sufferers access to medical marijuana, specifically used to treat anxiety.

"The medical system and the medical stores should be accessible to PSTD sufferers because they provide different products, carry different products, different potencies than what’s served on the retail or recreational side,” Hoban said.

Bean said marijuana has eased his anxiety and opened a whole new world, helping him put the Iraq war behind him as he gets ready for a legal battle.

"It’s legal, and it’s moral and it helps me," Bean said. "Veterans' lives have been saved by this, so why not get the word out about how powerful it is?”

The Colorado Attorney General's Office is representing the state in the lawsuit. A spokesman declined comment on the case.