How PTSD Affects Military Veterans and How Medical Cannabis is Able to Help
According to research, about 30% of U.S. war veterans that were deployed in the Vietnam war and 20% of veterans returning from the Middle East are troubled by a posttraumatic stress disorder or PTSD. This mental health condition is a result of very stressful and traumatic life events which is apparent in war, as soldiers are faced constantly with combat exposure and other military-related trauma. Transitioning out of military life back into civilian or family life proves to be quite difficult, even with the benefits, healthcare, and jobs for veterans provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs. There is also the lingering problem of opioids addiction which is very common amongst the veterans. This is just one of the problems that medical Cannabis might be able to help solve.
Posttraumatic Stress Disorder is often characterized by intruding thoughts where the trauma is being re-experienced, which in turn causes avoidance of things or situations associated with the trauma. It also affects mood directly and causes irritability and aggression. When left untreated, PTSD brings sleep disorders, reckless behavior, substance use, isolation and mood changes. In the past few years, medical Cannabis has been making strides as the most preferred alternative plant-based medicinal product to relieve symptoms of PTSD, anxiety, and depression. It is even found that a high rate of military veterans across the United States with PTSD use medical Cannabis as self-medication as they feel it helps in alleviating particularly the hyperarousal symptoms and sleep problems brought about by PTSD. So, is a medical Cannabis product the answer to this ever-increasing problem of PTSD in our military veterans? This question is up for further discussion.
While in service, military veterans were reported to experience combat stress and sexual assault as the most common causes of PTSD. Sexual assault also occurs at a higher rate in the military than the general population. During the mid-twentieth century, PTSD was known as “shell shock” or “combat fatigue”. The most common product used for treatment aside from cognitive behavioral therapy that is approved by pharma is SSRIs or selective serotonin uptake inhibitors such as Paxil, Prozac, and Zoloft. These pharmaceutical products give unpleasant side effects to the patient such as drowsiness, nausea, dizziness, nervousness, headaches, and sexual problems, to name a few. Patients also reported feeling like a “zombie”, unable to feel emotions normally, which is not an issue with medical Cannabis users.
Medical Cannabis programs have already been enacted in thirty-three states as of date. Even so, war veterans face the greatest challenges in getting their hands on these health benefits among other groups
Medical Cannabis for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder and Anxiety in Military Veterans
According to the United States Department of Veterans Affairs or VA, deaths by suicide is very common amongst war veterans in the country. The primary culprit behind this is the different mental issues faced by the vets such as PTSD and anxiety once deployed back into their ordinary lives. Combat-related chronic pain is also one of the most common complaints and health concerns in the military. The doctors tend to prescribe opioids products to deal with this and gives way to unpleasant side effects such as anxiety, mood swings, stress and sleep disorders, side effects that are absent when consuming a medical Cannabis product. While the VA helps provide jobs for veterans, along with other benefits and healthcare, life still proves to be difficult for them and in many cases leads to substance abuse or even suicide. Veterans suffer from mental health problems very common and have a 22% greater suicide rate than the general populace. Every day, an average of 20 veterans take their own life and 6 of these have been using VHA services recently.
As published by the VA (Veterans Association), 66,000 war veterans received treatment for opioid addiction. And while opioid is the preferred product used for treatment currently provided for the military, there is another natural plant-based products or alternatives that might prove to be safer to use such as Medical Cannabis. There are lots of research put into medical Cannabis and its efficiency in alleviating common health symptoms. Military veterans also experience common health problems like tinnitus, hearing loss, lower back pain, and chronic pain – all of which can be significantly lessened by medical Cannabis product use. Cannabidiol or CBD, which is a main ingredient of medical Cannabis is especially used to alleviate pain, enhance mood, diminish inflammation and is a very effective remedy for both physical and mental ailments. Since CBD product has shown very promising positive results for depressive symptoms and PTSD, medical Cannabis can probably be a good alternative product for opioids for military veterans.
How CBD Works for PTSD & Anxiety
According to a study on medical Cannabis investigating the effects that medical Cannabis has on anxiety in 2011, a single dose of 600 mg CBD product administered to a patient already significantly reduced the symptoms of anxiety. It is also noted in this study that according to evidence, the CBD product even works best in alleviating anxiety symptoms “in subjects where stress had been caused before CBD administration.” This implies that taking CBD product is ideal for people who feel anxious from situations, experiences or random moments. This means that veterans suffering from PTSD that experience random anxious episodes and panic attacks could benefit from taking medical Cannabis or CBD oils after a traumatic event took place.
There is a growing number of medical research regarding the use of medical Cannabis ever since its legalization in various different states. There is one medical paper from 2015 that is entitled ‘Cannabidiol as a Potential Treatment for Anxiety Disorders’. This study looked specifically into medical Cannabis products and how it could help during the erratic and unstable episodes of PTSD. They have found that if CBD product is administered 1 hour daily after a “predator stress”, it reduces the long-term anxiety attained from that stressor. In short, the study found that the use of medical Cannabis in the form of a CBD product had a very high impact on people suffering from traumatic events. This is especially helpful in war veterans or combat soldiers that deal with traumatic events daily, as they can significantly decrease the adverse effects of PTSD if they take CBD within an hour of a bad experience. If this is so, it is undeniable that medical Cannabis oil products could indeed be revolutionary for our war veterans’ mental health care and would help the Veterans Association (VA) in managing issues such as this. It is important to note, however, that CBD oil or other forms of medical Cannabis is not a miracle solution or remedy to PTSD since it does not make the symptoms go away. Like conventional medicine, it only helps greatly in managing the symptoms, making post-war anxiety and PTSD more comfortable to deal with. You can think of it as opiates or anti-depressants, but natural and without the side-effects.
Another great possibility is that medical Cannabis may even benefit more while still active in the military, especially in combat. This is still subject to further studies, but it is likely that the development itself of posttraumatic stress disorder and severe anxiety could be decreased if a CBD product is used while on active duty. Put simply, when soldiers on active duty immediate use a CBD product, whenever they feel anxious in the field, may help avoid mental problems in the long-term. It may prevent severe anxiety or PTSD from developing entirely.
Veterans Affairs and Medical Cannabis
Although medical Cannabis use and even recreational marijuana have been approved in several states in the U.S., veterans should know that Cannabis is still classified by federal law as a schedule one controlled substance, making it a still illegal product in federal government’s eyes. Federal law is still imposed on the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, therefore requiring them to follow with regards to medical Cannabis. The VHA Directive 1315 specifically documents the VA’s position on medical Cannabis. So, as long as the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) classifies Cannabis as an illegal product, veterans may not be recommended to use or assisted with obtaining the plant-based medicine under no circumstance. So basically, veterans are not denied benefits from the VA due to medical Cannabis use, however, VA clinicians may not recommend its use nor provide prescriptions for use of the product. Veterans Affairs will also not pay for medical Cannabis recommendations from any source. This applies to all nine million veterans enrolled in the Department of Veterans Affairs health care program (VHA) and may prove to be a problem for military veterans who depend solely on health care provided by the VA and believes in that medical Cannabis is the product that could help with their medical condition. VHA is also the nation’s largest health care system and one of the largest contributors to medical and scientific research. Military veterans may independently participate in state-level medical Cannabis programs or even recreational marijuana programs, but they must cover their own expenses in purchasing the product. State-level medical Cannabis programs may not be affordable to those that cannot afford health care outside of the VHA. Furthermore, blood testing and urinalysis may also be required by the VHA during treatment which may reveal CBD or other medical Cannabis product use among patients.
Federal law is still imposed on the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, therefore requiring them to follow with regards to medical Cannabis
There are several advocacy groups that push greater access to medical Cannabis for veterans. Among these are Veterans Cannabis Project and Veterans for Medical Cannabis Access. U.S. Representative Lou Correa, who sits on the house VA committee, has made public his plans to introduce federal legislation directing the VA to study the safety of medical Cannabis as a treatment product for military PTSD and other war-related injuries. Just September last year, a bill is known as the Veterans Medical Marijuana Safe Harbor Act, was passed to Congress pushing the legalization of medical Cannabis for veterans but was unable to move forward.
Medical Cannabis and Military Veterans
Medical Cannabis enthusiasts all over the world support these claims and attest to the product’s effectivity and lack of side-effects. These research are vital for the growing communities of self-medicating patients and the market is now saturated with a variety of medical Cannabis products, each with different health benefits and application.
Medical Cannabis programs have already been enacted in thirty-three states as of date. Even so, war veterans face the greatest challenges in getting their hands on these health benefits among other groups. This is despite the fact that military veterans may arguably be one of the most that could benefit from medical Cannabis products due to them suffering widespread problems in health such as traumatic brain injuries, chronic pain, and posttraumatic stress disorder that they experience in a rate higher than the general population. Although the Veterans Administration (VA) provides jobs for veterans, benefits, and health care, this does not include access to Medical Cannabis.
There are currently tons and tons of clinical trials and anecdotal evidence that medical Cannabis in the form of CBD is very much effective in the mental health difficulties faced currently by our war veterans. These include relieving them of anxiety, the symptoms of PTSD, chronic pain and more, which is why medical Cannabis is becoming a more popular product among the veterans even though it is not currently supported by health care provided by the Veterans Association (VA). Despite this, American Legion’s study suggests that 22% of war veterans are already using the product for medical treatment and 92% of them are in favor of research into medical Cannabis.
Cannabis as a Medicinal Product
Medical Cannabis comes in a lot of different forms. There is a wide variety of options and different kinds of product veterans may choose from. Each product takes a different form and has its own different effect. A medical cannabis product can be administered through different methods. This includes smoking or vaporizing dried buds, or consuming medical Cannabis on other product forms such as edibles, capsules, lozenges, topical creams, oral or dermal sprays. There are some countries that provide prescription for synthetic cannabinoids such as dronabinol and nabilone. Even though recreational and medical Cannabis are both products of the same plant, they vary greatly in content, quality, and purpose. A recreational Cannabis product usually has higher Tetrahydrocannabinol or THC levels, which is responsible for the high the users get when consuming. Although THC has health benefits too, it isn’t ideal for patients wanting to use a Cannabis product mainly for medicinal purposes, due to its psychoactive nature. Meanwhile, the usual medical Cannabis product is more Cannabidiol or CBD based, which provides the excellent benefits of the product without the high, hence proving safe even for children or older patients under prescription.
Medical Cannabis is now a product that is highly accessible to patients in states where medical Cannabis is legal. Veterans and other patients can get a medical Cannabis recommendation from physicians under California law. This is after careful examination and medical indication and meeting certain requirements. Since doctors cannot prescribe marijuana even in the form of medical Cannabis due to federal law prohibitions, they can instead recommend it for certain conditions. A recommendation is done in cases of patients with cancer, anorexia, AIDS, glaucoma, veterans with PTSD, anxiety, depression, insomnia, chronic pain, spasticity, arthritis, and other illnesses that medical Cannabis provides relief for. Patients with a doctor’s recommendation can easily access the product from medical Cannabis dispensaries. They can even grow their own plant for medical product use or possess bigger quantities of the product than recreational users.
Where To Buy Cannabis Oil Online
In this day and age, it is especially easier to get your hands on a medical Cannabis product. Veterans and other medical Cannabis patients are able to buy cannabis oil online, or other products. This benefits greatly veterans who wish to keep their medical Cannabis use and health conditions discreet and avoid the discomfort of coming into a medical cannabis dispensary. There are lots of medical Cannabis dispensaries available for walk-ins. Although, it is especially hard to pick out medical Cannabis providers that are established and run as true professionals, especially since the medical Cannabis industry is fairly new. Medical Cannabis delivery services like Enjoymint Delivered acknowledges the patients’ need for discretion and comfort, to receive top medical Cannabis care and the best quality product. It is Enjoymint Delivered ‘s vision that every medical Cannabis patient and war veteran suffering from PTSD has access to top-quality products, receiving only the purest and top-notch edibles and concentrates from pioneers of the Cannabis trade. You won’t have to deal with lines, crowds, and sales pressure. You can buy cannabis oil online and have access to a plethora of different strains and Cannabis products with just a few clicks on your screen.
Veterans and other medical Cannabis patients are able to buy cannabis oil online, or other products. This benefits greatly veterans who wish to keep their medical Cannabis use and health conditions discreet and avoid the discomfort of coming into a medical cannabis dispensary.
War veterans only deserve the highest standard of care and therefore access to medical Cannabis when it is proving to improve their lives and help them merge back into society and their respective families. Enjoymint Delivered strongly advocates for military veterans’ access to medicinal Cannabis and further research proving the capabilities of the product. With the help of technology and the laws passed to legalize the use of medical cannabis products, the future might just be greener for our war veterans suffering from the consequences of war.