Many Veterans Have to Break the Law to Use Medical Cannabis

For veterans in states with restrictive medical programs, acquiring the medicinal benefits of cannabis means breaking the law.

There are almost 900,000 military veterans living in New York State, and as many of 20 percent of them may suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder; if they served overseas in Iraq or Afghanistan — or if they were in Vietnam — that number may be as high as 30 percent, according to the Veterans Administration.

To call PTSD a debilitating nightmare is not an exaggeration: Sleepless nights, anxiety-filled days, and suicidal thoughts are common. The most common treatment is a pharmaceutical cocktail: anti-depressants, anti-anxiety drugs, and opioids.

Read more at Cannabis Now

Prescription Drugs Still Vanishing at VA Hospitals

If you are in need of prescription opiates, make your way to the nearest Veterans Affairs hospital. Not because VA hospitals prescribe opiates to anybody for any reason, even when it is very bad and dangerous to do so—though they do that, too—but because VA hospitals do a very bad job at stopping employees from stealing armloads of the stuff.

In February, the Associated Press discovered that opiates are going missing from VA hospitals at double the rate private hospital employees are swiping prescription pain pills. In response, the VA announced a “zero tolerance” policy, putting the doctors, nurses and other staffers at its nearly 1,200 medical centers and clinics around the country on notice… who then starting stealing even more.

As the AP reported on Tuesday, another 36 criminal investigations into pill theft were opened between Oct. 1 and May 19 of this year, “an increase from a similar period” the year before.

Read more at High Times

Access to MMJ for Veterans Grows, But the Struggle Continues

On Memorial Day, we honor those military service members who made the ultimate sacrifice. But for many combat veterans who return from battle with PTSD and debilitating injuries, medical cannabis provides crucial, sometimes life-saving relief. Veteran access to cannabis medicine is better than ever, but there’s still plenty of work to be done to ensure all our veterans can benefit from medical marijuana.

While veterans are not technically barred from access to Veterans Administration health services and programs for using medical marijuana, many other VA rules and regulations prevent access to the medicinal cannabis, especially for patients with limited mobility: the use or possession of marijuana is prohibited at all VA properties — no matter the form — and VA doctors may not prescribe medical marijuana or complete paperwork for state-approved marijuana programs.

And unlike Canada, where reimbursements for medical cannabis went from $400,000 to $20 million in just a few years for veterans, the VA will not pay for medical marijuana prescriptions from any source.

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Foundation to Help Fund PTSD Research and Get Veterans Jobs in the Pot Industry

Dr. Sue Sisley, a psychiatrist and former clinical assistant professor at Arizona University (AU), is one of the nation’s foremost scientific experts on medical marijuana.

Although she’s never served in the military Sisley, wears or carries a dog tag stamped with the number “22,” as a constant reminder of how many American vets commit suicide each day—most suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, according to data from the Department of Veterans Affairs.

“Even though we all realize that is a falsely low number… it is a horrific number,” Sisley told NewsMax Health, noting that veteran suicides far outnumber the national civilian average.

Read more at High Times

Colorado on the Verge of Adding PTSD to Medical Marijuana Program

After years of trials and tribulations concerning the issue of giving Colorado patients with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) access to the state’s medical marijuana program, it appears this group may be finally on the verge of getting their hands on the medicine they need.

On Tuesday, the Colorado Senate put its seal of approval on a measure aimed at allowing doctors to dole out medical marijuana recommendations to those people struggling with this severe anxiety disorder. The bill is now on its way to the desk of Governor John Hickenlooper, who has not yet revealed whether he will sign it into law.

Nevertheless, supporters of this reform seem hopeful that it is a done deal.

Read more at High Times

Pot & Vets: America’s Shame

Our first president probably wasn’t aware of the many medicinal properties of cannabis. He probably never smoked the stuff either. Nonetheless, George Washington was an enthusiastic hemp farmer. But if he’d known how important cannabis would be to the well-being of future military veterans—and how the US government would one day outlaw the plant entirely—the Bill of Rights might very well have included a few clauses about the right to grow, as well as the right to share.

Many of America’s early settlers brought cannabis extracts and tinctures with them from the Old World. Mainstream medicine recognized and began marketing cannabis after it was added to the US Pharmacopeia in 1850. It would come to be known as a medicine for veterans after the Civil War. In fact, an early cannabis-remedy advertisement quoted the former commanders of the Union and Confederate armies, Generals Ulysses S. Grant and Robert E. Lee, endorsing Hasheesh Candy, a product made available through an importer on Beekman Street in New York City.

According to the ad, Grant stated that cannabis was “of great value for the wounded and feeble” as well as being “harmless.” Lee said: “I wish it was in my power to place a dollar box of the Hasheesh Candy in the pocket of every Confederate soldier; because I am convinced that it speedily relieves debility, fatigue and suffering.”

Read more at High Times

University Drops Out of Pot for PTSD Study; Vets Demand Answers

Though cannabis is legal in the District of Columbia, there isn’t much medical marijuana access in the greater Washington, D.C. metro area. Virginia is still a no-go zone, and four years after lawmakers in Maryland approved medical marijuana, would-be patients in that state are still waiting for the first delivery.

Keep in mind that the area around the nation’s capital is full of military veterans. Post-traumatic stress disorder affects between 10 and 30 percent of vets, and PTSD is one of the conditions for which medical cannabis in Maryland is available—but until that state’s cannabis program becomes active later this summer, at the earliest, one of the only options for area combat vets to (legally) try cannabis for PTSD was through a study.

Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore was one of two research institutions in the U.S. to receive funding to see if smoked marijuana helped combat-related stress, as a growing body of anecdotal evidence suggests.

Read more at High Times

We Need More Weed: Booze and Opioids Causing More Veteran Suicides

Rather than allow veterans to participate in medical marijuana programs in states where it is legal, the United States government has continued to encourage active and retired members of the military to self-medicate with dangerous prescription drugs. Sadly, a new study finds that this policy may actually be causing more of America’s soldiers to commit suicide.

The latest research shows that veterans with drug or alcohol dependency issues are twice as likely to kill themselves than the ones not plagued by those demons.

The study, which was published in the latest issue of the journal Addiction, suggests that medical marijuana could be a salvation’s wing for a number of vets who mostly rely on sedatives and opioid medications to alleviate the debilitating symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and chronic pain.

Read more at High Times

Beyond the Battlefield: Growing Dank in the Desert

After finishing his tour in Iraq, Ricardo Pereyda was redeployed to Germany and became aware of changes in his behavior.

Something was wrong. He was in a constant state of aggravation and couldn’t sleep. Negative thoughts filled his head.

Pereyda had served in the Military Police Corps of the US Army, part of a quick-reaction force that conducted IED sweeps, provided convoy security, and escorted VIPs and “high-value” individuals. “It was a rough deployment,” Pereyda admits. “In addition to combat, we lost an individual to a heart attack before we even got to the Iraq theater. And at the end of my tour, a 19-year-old private committed suicide in his bunk.”

Read more at High Times

FAIRWINDS MANUFACTURING DEVELOPS BREAKTHROUGH PTSD TREATMENT: Post-Traumatic, Stress Free

Deep within the walls of Fairwinds Manufacturing, where cannabis grows in highly sophisticated, computer-controlled ‘clean rooms,’ a team of scientists is developing breakthrough cannabis-based wellness products. Using in-house chemical analysis and DNA sequencing, they’re able to isolate specific cannabinoids and terpenes, and produce plants that can target precise symptoms. Their latest product, a blue capsule called PTSFree, is a new treatment for PTSD—a condition that, according to the National Center for PTSD, affects seven to eight percent of Americans.

PTSD is a combination of symptoms that can develop in anyone—military or civilian—after experiencing severe trauma. These symptoms—anxiety, hyper-vigilance, irritability, sleep disorders and even digestive problems—are all treatable with cannabis, given the proper research and development. For Fairwinds owner, James Hull, conducting clinical studies of PTSFree would be essential to its success, and for this, he reached out to veterans—the most well-known, defined group living with PTSD, who often seek alternative treatment outside of pharmaceuticals.

“These herbs are life-changing in and of themselves. The cannabis is life-changing. The two together put this on another level—it’s not just pot in a pill,” says Hull.

Read more at Dope Magazine