Cannabis For Veterans: A Natural Option For Managing PTSD

Cannabis has great management properties for anxiety and depression.

This is especially true for veterans who may have had traumatic experiences while deployed.

Veterans have long had to consider the use of opiates and antidepressants to deal with the mental pain that can occur after time in the armed forces.

However, cannabis for veterans offers a natural alternative to pharmaceutical drugs to treat situational anxiety and sleep disorders.

There are calming benefits in particular strains.

And while the Department of Veterans’ Affairs won’t prescribe it, there is a growing interest in using cannabis to help veterans.

Here is everything you need to know about cannabis for veterans.

Research On Cannabis For Veterans

Cannabis for Veterans

Veterans are always looking for new and safer ways to treat the variety of mental health and chronic pain disorders they have to deal with.

However, there is currently limited research to support the idea that cannabis can be used to treat mental health disorders.

Many of the studies say that, while there are positive results, it has been difficult to carry out comprehensive and controlled studies.

The main reason for this is that it is classified as a Schedule 1 drug under federal law. That’s the same category heroin is in.

This means research on cannabis for veterans has trouble getting funding. Also, the VA does not like to advocate cannabis as a treatment.

However, one Vietnam veteran, Bob Luciano, developed his own strains to assist with treating PTSD.

Starting his business back in 1990, he grows “pure organic flower developed for high-THC with intense terpene profiles and rich flavors and aromas.”

It is aimed specifically at veterans and disabled people, like him, who are treating illnesses developed during or after their service.

How Cannabis Can Help Veterans?

Veterans frequently get prescribed a cocktail of drugs and pharmaceuticals to treat chronic pain and PTSD.

However, these often have negative impacts on your senses rather than treating and healing symptoms.

Many veterans have supplemented their prescription drugs with cannabis. The reason for this is the administration’s clinicians cannot recommend medical marijuana.

As a result, they cannot complete the paperwork needed to participate in state-approved programs.

However, veterans are still encouraged to inform the VA if they are using cannabis to supplement treatment.

A new bill released in April was nicknamed the Veterans Cannabis Use for Safe Healing Act and was proposed in Congress. It was designed to protect veterans from losing benefits due to cannabis usage.

The bill also lets VA physicians recommend medicinal cannabis to their patients.

How Veterans Are Helping Veterans Use Cannabis

The Santa Cruz Veterans Alliance (SCVA) has been designed to support cannabis for veterans.

It’s run by Jake Scallan, a member of the US Air Force deployed to Iraq in 2009; Aaron Newsom, a Marine deployed to Afghanistan; and Jason Sweatt, an army veteran.

After having their own experiences with PTSD, Jake nearly committed suicide.

However, they now grow 1000’s of cannabis plants and do a monthly flower giveaway for those who have been in the armed forces.

Because of what they have been through, they understand first hand that people need to be able to function and have a life while they deal with PTSD.

However, they are only able to operate in states where cannabis is legal. Thankfully, more research is being done to try and find out exactly how cannabis can help with PTSD.

Dr. Suzanne Sisley is now conducting research that could make a difference in how the VA, which runs the National Center for PTSD, looks at cannabis for veterans.

She headed the first clinical trial into PTSD and vets.

As the lead researcher, she and her team looked at how using the whole marijuana plant could help.

The study was sponsored by the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS).

It was the first of its kind to receive approval and oversight by the Food and Drug Administration, Drug Enforcement Administration, and the National Institute on Drug Abuse. It concluded in 2018.

Dr. Sisley, who has been a long-time advocate for the use of cannabis for veterans, told Stars and Stripes at the time:

“I don’t think we would be at the finish line without the dedication of all these veterans organizations and individual veterans who stood by us all these years,” Sisley said.

“Over the past decade, we had all these veterans standing shoulder-to-shoulder with us, helping to kick down doors. They never relented, and they knew we were determined to persevere.”

Protecting Veterans Using Cannabis

In a 2017 survey, 9% of veterans were using cannabis where it was medically legal.

However, 41% reported using it medically, which indicates it can have a positive impact on veterans’ health.

The Veterans Cannabis Project, which was founded by Nick Etten, a former Navy SEAL, advocated for those using medical marijuana.

There are an estimated 80% of veterans who support medical cannabis programs which can enable them to fight symptoms of PTSD and offer pain relief.

The Veteran’s Cannabis Project aims to get “unrestricted and supported access to medical cannabis through the VA just like any other medicine.”

However, the information is still a little sparse when it comes to studies, so there is only anecdotal evidence to be referred to.

Of course, as with any kind of treatment, not everyone responds the same way. Only time will tell if veterans can get the access to cannabis they want.

Wrap Up

Cannabis use is growing in popularity and acceptance, so it may be sooner rather than later that veterans will have access to cannabis.

Once it reaches even more mainstream apples the VA will need to accept cannabis for veterans as the new normal, allowing access to treatment plans which can help them with their symptoms.

If you’re a veteran suffering from PTSD, anxiety, or depression, we’d love to help you find a strain to help treat you symptoms.