Military veterans risked their lives to preserve the freedoms that we enjoy today.
Unfortunately, too many veterans arrive home still bearing the physical and psychological wounds that they suffered during combat.
- Almost 30 percent of veterans treated by the V.A. have PTSD.
- Nearly 20 to 25 percent of veterans suffer from partial PTSD at some point in their lives.
- An average of 20 veterans a day commit suicide.
These statistics are astounding and disturbing. There’s no question that more needs to be done to help our vets.
And that’s why now is the perfect time to discuss cannabis and veterans.
How Veterans are Normally Treated For PTSD
Veterans suffering from PTSD and chronic pain are usually prescribed these types of prescription drugs:
- Opioid painkillers
Unfortunately, these drug cocktails can create a “zombie-like” effect, leaving the patient feeling numb and detached from everyday life.
Opioid painkillers can also be potentially dangerous.
A TIME report found that veterans are twice as likely to be prescribed opioid painkillers if they are also being treated for PTSD.
These same veterans are also more likely to overdose on drugs and alcohol, exhibit violent behavior, and commit suicide – more so than veterans who aren’t given any painkillers at all.
Using Cannabis to Treat Veterans With PTSD
Why should veterans consider using medical cannabis? Well, cannabis can act as a:
- Pain reliever
- Sedative/sleep aid
- Antidepressant (depending on the strain)
- Anti-anxiety aid (depending on the strain)
It’s virtually impossible to overdose on cannabis, putting it in stark contrast with opioid painkillers. In fact, a study found that states with legal cannabis saw a 23% drop in opioid dependence and abuse, while opioid overdose hospitalizations dropped by 13%.
Veterans also claim that medical marijuana does more than just treat their symptoms; it allows them to be more active and engaged with life.
The V.A.’s Stance on Medical Cannabis
The Department of Veterans Affairs has a somewhat neutral stance on cannabis and veterans.
Because the V.A. is regulated by federal law, it can’t legally recommend medical marijuana to its patients or help those patients obtain marijuana.
However, the V.A. has said that they won’t take away the benefits of veterans who are enrolled in state medical marijuana programs. They also encourage patients to notify the V.A. if they’re using medical marijuana so that their health and progress can be monitored.
Groups That Bring Cannabis and Veterans Together
Since the V.A. can’t be a pro-cannabis resource, veterans themselves are filling in the gap. Organizations, such as the Veterans Cannabis Project, Grow For Vets, and the Weed for Warriors Project, have taken on the responsibility of educating veterans on the benefits of cannabis and helping veterans gain access to the medicine they need.
How Essence Cannabis Dispensary is Helping Vets
Essence offers a special discount to veterans, ranging from 10% to 30% off on all purchases, depending on the patient’s level of disability. You just need to bring in the proper qualifying paperwork, and Essence will take care of the rest.
If you’re a veteran who uses cannabis to manage your PTSD or chronic pain symptoms, we’d love to hear your story. Your experience could help inspire other patients to take the steps necessary to find relief, so please share your story with us on the Essence Facebook page!