Marijuana for Trauma, Survivor’s Guilt, Depression–Cannabis Medicine
The potential of cannabis as a treatment option for symptoms of diseases and other afflictions common with veterans is significant. Marijuana for trauma and other related injuries should be considered over dangerous prescription drugs. Members of the Senate have been working to facilitate discussions between Veterans Affairs doctors and their patients about cannabis medicine. According to their website, Grow for Vets identifies that 50 veterans “die each day from suicide and prescription drug overdose.” And, we are all well aware that there aren’t any recorded overdose deaths by cannabis. But why is cannabis a viable treatment option?
Cannabis Can Ease Social Anxiety
“Imagine you just got out of an occupation in the Iraq desert. During that year, you spent your days on high alert, in the sweltering heat, sleeping very little, eating minimally, wondering at every turn if you were about to cross danger. There are no billboards in the desert. There an no flashing lights or sounds, unless it comes from crossfire. Think about coming home to the States and trying to reacquaint yourself with society. Think about trying to find a job while carrying that kind of stress,” said Derek Haas, an employee at The Farm that is also a veteran. He spoke about how many veterans have survivor’s guilt–a symptom of PTSD where a survivor of a traumatic experience perceives they did wrong by surviving when others involved did not.
Haas himself has a degree of survivor’s guilt, due to the fact that most of the people he served with went overseas while he was never deployed. “I feel like I didn’t do my job,” he said. He volunteered to go overseas. Now, he feels angry and disillusioned. In the transition from testing military equipment for the Army back into American society, he used cannabis to help him relieve social anxiety. “A lot of vets get jobs where they are drug tested and can’t take the cannabis route,” he said after broaching the subject of working for a marijuana company.
Re-engaging Traumatic Experiences
Another employee at The Farm that is also a veteran, Zach Walker, believes that marijuana can help people re-engage their traumatic experiences as a kind of therapy, as well as heal the body. Walker began using cannabis as an alternative to opiates for pain management after falling 48 feet off of a mountain. He was life-flighted, put into a body cast, and eventually a wheel chair. Thankfully, his body healed. While on medical leave from the Air Force, he was randomly drug tested. “The nurse was astonished at my cannabinoid levels,” which put him, as he said, “flying too high for the Air Force.” He refused to use opiates to treat his pain and was generally discharged after testing positive for marijuana in his system. Well over a year spent in the appeals process, he was eventually honorably discharged.
Walker isn’t the only one who thinks cannabis can be therapeutic. The Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies was given approval to “conduct a study of smoked marijuana for symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in veterans of war,” according to their website. The association also conducts research on MDMA, LSD, and other psychedelics to assist in psychotherapy and treatment for addiction, sexual assault, PTSD, autism, as well as other psychological and emotional damage.
Some veterans are using marijuana to treat everything from migranes, to PTSD, traumatic brain injuries, nightmares, irritable bowel syndrome, panic attacks, and phantom limb syndrome, instead of using the current pharmaceuticals prescribed to them by Veterans Affairs doctors. Indica strains seem to work well with these patients because they often don’t have overwhelming, intense cerebral effects like certain sativa strains. CBD products are also widely used among this group to help ease physical pain. If you are a veteran and want to speak with Derek or Zach about how they have used marijuana to adjust, to treat pain, or to simply relate, ask for them at The Farm.