Veterans and cannabis: Treating PTSD

Veterans and Cannabis: Treating PTSD

Cannabis is known for its medicinal properties. It’s beneficial and can help treat all sorts of medical issues someone may experience. That’s why it is no surprise that it’s been considered to help treat veterans. Veterans can suffer from all kinds of health issues, ranging from chronic pain due to old injuries or mental health conditions such as PTSD. Such health conditions can greatly impact their quality of life in a negative way. That’s why many researchers are looking into ways that cannabis can help their lives. Veterans and cannabis: PTSD may now be possibly treated effectively due to cannabis.  

Such studies can solidify evidence on whether veterans should use cannabis or not. These studies are usually funded by the federal government or other private organizations. 

How Can Veterans Treat PTSD with Cannabis?

Veterans can effectively use cannabis as a way to treat PTSD, according to this study. This 2018 study was conducted by the Department of Veteran Affairs with a team of multiple researchers. What they found was interesting. 

Over one-third of patients seeking cannabis for medical purposes list post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as the primary reason for the request. Approximately 15% of veterans who are treated in the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) outpatient PTSD clinics report recent (past 6 months) cannabis use.

The study also looked at how patients and veterans relied on cannabis to help with treating their chronic pain. Cannabis can be incredibly efficient at treating chronic pain due to its anti-inflammatory properties and relaxing effects. In fact, many people find it beneficial to incorporate cannabis into their medical treatment plans. It’s even helped some slowly come off opioid medication they may be required to take due to their health condition. 

As for PTSD, many veterans have been documented to benefit from medical marijuana. For example, David Bass, a Desert Storm Veteran from Texas, credits cannabis for his recovery journey through PTSD. He served 2∞ years in the Amry. Additionally, he was deployed to Iraq in 2004-2005. He states that his time there made a significant difference in his life. 

After years of relying on medication that only made him feel empty and unlike himself, Bass was ready to try something new. In 2012, he got together with a community of veterans who swore by the effects of marijuana. This inspired Bass to give it a try. Cannabis drastically changed his quality of life. Since then, he’s been pushing for serious cannabis reform at the Texas State Capitol by sharing his experience with lawmakers. 

Veteran Cannabis Project

There are entire organizations dedicated to improving the lives of veterans by working on the legalization and reform of medical cannabis in the United States. For example, the Veterans Cannabis Project is an organization that works diligently to change the conversation around medical cannabis for veterans. They do so by:

  • Advocating on behalf of veterans’ cannabis access
  • Educating lawmakers and the public about the value of cannabis to veterans to remove stigma
  • Supporting veteran across the nation with the resources they need to understand the value of medical cannabis and their rights 

The founder of the Veterans Cannabis Project is Nick Etten. Nick Etten served as a U.S. Navy Seal. Later, he spent 20 years as a private equity professional and operations executive with several organizations. As a veteran himself, Etten understands the struggle and aftermath a veteran faces when they come home. Their programs work to advocate for veterans, educate the public, and research medical marijuana. 

The Veterans Cannabis Project is one of the many organizations that work to help improve the quality of life of U.S. military veterans through access to cannabis. 

Veterans Push for Medical Marijuana in U.S. States

There are still a few states that have not legalized the medical use of cannabis. Many of these remaining states are in the conservative South. Moreover, these states are dominated by a Republican legislature. This prohibits some veterans from accessing cannabis to treat their chronic pain and PTSD. As a result, many advocates are working hard to get lawmakers to act on this. 

For example, North Carolina has not yet legalized medical marijuana. Chayse Roth, a former Marine Corps gunnery sergeant, states that it’s time for the state to change this policy. He is advocating for lawmakers to pass a bill that would legalize medical marijuana and allow veterans with PTSD and other debilitation conditions to use it. 

Roth notes that he’s lost multiple men from his community due to suicide. As someone who doesn’t use cannabis, Roth strongly believes in creating the option for others to use it.

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