A soldier could face life in prison after being caught growing marijuana to treat his PTSD.

No one should face punishment for seeking the treatment they need.

Up to 20% of U.S. military veterans deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan will likely return home with symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder.

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is, as the name implies, a condition that affects people who have undergone particularly traumatizing events in their lives. It could be caused by things like being shot at, being attacked, a sexual assault, surviving a car wreck, or enduring a natural disaster, among others.

The four types of PTSD symptoms include reliving the traumatizing event, feeling the need to avoid situations that remind you of the event, experiencing negative changes to beliefs and feelings, and feeling jittery/startled.


People in the military are much more likely than the general public to live with PTSD due to their potential exposure to combat situations. PTSD symptoms that originate in combat situations are especially hard to live with untreated.


This soldier is filling out a mental health questionnaire. Photo by Chris Hondros/Getty Images.

As traditional PTSD treatment doesn't work for everyone, some people have found that using marijuana is a helpful alternative.

There's just one problem — while 23 states have legalized marijuana for medical use, the federal government still classifies it as a Schedule I drug (meaning that it has no medical use).

A survey found that more than 75% of doctors polled believe marijuana has medicinal use and would consider prescribing it if it were legal. And while it looks like the federal government might be inching closer to authorizing Veterans Administration doctors to offer the drug as treatment for PTSD, it's a work in progress.


Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images.

This leaves some veterans with a difficult choice: leave their PTSD untreated or break the law.

PTSD can be absolutely debilitating if left untreated. While veterans living in one of the 23 states with legalized medical marijuana might be able to obtain a prescription from a non-VA doctor, that's not much help to those who don't live in those states.

Photo by Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images.

And it's this choice that led one Iraq and Afghanistan veteran to face charges that might put him in jail.

After multiple tours of duty in the U.S. Marine Corps, veteran Kristoffer Lewandowski returned home to his wife Whitney and their three children in Oklahoma. Like many veterans, Lewandowski suffers from PTSD.

In June 2014, Lewandowski's PTSD symptoms flared up. Whitney brought their children to the next door neighbor's house to try to de-escalate the situation. The police were called to help. When they arrived, however, they found something in addition to a man in the midst of a PTSD episode. They found several of Lewandowski's marijuana plants.

Police arrested and charged Lewandowski with felony marijuana cultivation and possession of drug paraphernalia, in addition to a domestic violence charge (although Whitney claims he never hit her).

Due to the state's particularly harsh anti-drug laws, the charges against Lewandowski hold a maximum sentence of life in prison — for growing marijuana for treating the PTSD he has as a result of his military service to the U.S. It's absurd.

Making sure that those suffering from PTSD can get the treatment they need starts by pushing the government to change marijuana's Schedule I status.

As mentioned above, marijuana is classified as a Schedule I drug by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).

"Schedule I drugs, substances, or chemicals are defined as drugs with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse. Schedule I drugs are the most dangerous drugs of all the drug schedules with potentially severe psychological or physical dependence."

It seems a bit ridiculous that marijuana is considered among the most dangerous drugs, sharing its Schedule I status with drugs like heroin, LSD, and ecstasy. To put that in perspective, drugs like cocaine, Vicodin, and meth are all Schedule II (safer than Schedule I) drugs.

Yes, really.

Worse yet, keeping the Schedule I classification has made researching potential medical benefits significantly more difficult.

The Obama administration has the ability to reclassify marijuana to Schedule II. It just hasn't.

In a January 2014 interview with The New Yorker, President Obama stated, "I don't believe [marijuana] is more dangerous than alcohol."

So why hasn't the DEA (which falls under the purview of the Justice Department, part of the Executive branch) done anything about it? It's something totally within his power to do.

I don't know, either.

Note that reclassifying it doesn't mean making it totally legal and unregulated. It simply opens new doors to research. With that research, it might become easier for Congress to take action on legalizing the drug for medical use.

But while the government avoids addressing the issue, people like Kristoffer Lewandowski suffer the consequences of a broken system. It's time they took action.

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On an old episode of "The Oprah Winfrey Show" in July 1992, Oprah put her audience through a social experiment that puts racism in a new light. Despite being nearly two decades old, it's as relevant today as ever.

She split the audience members into two groups based on their eye color. Those with brown eyes were given preferential treatment by getting to cut the line and given refreshments while they waited to be seated. Those with blue eyes were made to put on a green collar and wait in a crowd for two hours.

Staff were instructed to be extra polite to brown-eyed people and to discriminate against blue-eyed people. Her guest for that day's show was diversity expert Jane Elliott, who helped set up the experiment and played along, explaining that brown-eyed people were smarter than blue-eyed people.

Watch the video to see how this experiment plays out.

Oprah's Social Experiment on Her Audience www.youtube.com

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Cadbury has removed the words from its Dairy Milk chocolate bars in the U.K. to draw attention to a serious issue, senior loneliness.

On September 4, Cadbury released the limited-edition candy bars in supermarkets and for every one sold, the candy giant will donate 30p (37 cents) to Age UK, an organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for the elderly.

Cadbury was prompted to help the organization after it was revealed that 225,000 elderly people in the UK often go an entire week without speaking to another person.

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Young people today are facing what seems to be greater exposure to complex issues like mental health, bullying, and youth violence. As a result, teachers are required to be well-versed in far more than school curriculum to ensure students are prepared to face the world inside and outside of the classroom. Acting as more than teachers, but also mentors, counselors, and cheerleaders, they must be equipped with practical and relevant resources to help their students navigate some of the more complicated social issues – though access to such tools isn't always guaranteed.

Take Dr. Jackie Sanderlin, for example, who's worked in the education system for over 25 years, and as a teacher for seven. Entering the profession, she didn't anticipate how much influence a student's home life could affect her classroom, including "students who lived in foster homes" and "lacked parental support."

Dr. Jackie Sanderlin, who's worked in the education system for over 25 years.

Valerie Anglemyer, a middle school teacher with more than 13 years of experience, says it can be difficult to create engaging course work that's applicable to the challenges students face. "I think that sometimes, teachers don't know where to begin. Teachers are always looking for ways to make learning in their classrooms more relevant."

So what resources do teachers turn to in an increasingly fractured world? "Joining a professional learning network that supports and challenges thinking is one of the most impactful things that a teacher can do to support their own learning," Anglemyer says.

Valerie Anglemyer, a middle school teacher with more than 13 years of experience.

A new program for teachers that offers this network along with other resources is the WE Teachers Program, an initiative developed by Walgreens in partnership with ME to WE and Mental Health America. WE Teachers provides tools and resources, at no cost to teachers, looking for guidance around the social issues related to poverty, youth violence, mental health, bullying, and diversity and inclusion. Through online modules and trainings as well as a digital community, these resources help them address the critical issues their students face.

Jessica Mauritzen, a high school Spanish teacher, credits a network of support for providing her with new opportunities to enrich the learning experience for her students. "This past year was a year of awakening for me and through support… I realized that I was able to teach in a way that built up our community, our school, and our students, and supported them to become young leaders," she says.

With the new WE Teachers program, teachers can learn to identify the tough issues affecting their students, secure the tools needed to address them in a supportive manner, and help students become more socially-conscious, compassionate, and engaged citizens.

It's a potentially life-saving experience for students, and in turn, "a great gift for teachers," says Dr. Sanderlin.

"I wish I had the WE Teachers program when I was a teacher because it provides the online training and resources teachers need to begin to grapple with these critical social issues that plague our students every day," she adds.

In addition to the WE Teachers curriculum, the program features a WE Teachers Award to honor educators who go above and beyond in their classrooms. At least 500 teachers will be recognized and each will receive a $500 Walgreens gift card, which is the average amount teachers spend out-of-pocket on supplies annually. Teachers can be nominated or apply themselves. To learn more about the awards and how to nominate an amazing teacher, or sign up for access to the teacher resources available through WE Teachers, visit walgreens.com/metowe.

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One of the major differences between women and men is that women are often judged based on their looks rather than their character or abilities.

"Men as well as women tend to establish the worth of individual women primarily by the way their body looks, research shows. We do not do this when we evaluate men," Naomi Ellemers Ph.D. wrote in Psychology Today.

Dr. Ellers believes that this tendency to judge a woman solely on her looks causes them to be seen as an object rather than a person.

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Culture