Veterans are choosing cannabis over pharmaceuticals for many reasons. On average, 22 veterans commit suicide every day. This is a staggering statistic. Sadly, it is much higher in reality due to underreporting of veteran suicides. This is why veteran suicide is something we all need to talk about more. We shouldn’t avoid it just because the conversations can be uncomfortable or painful. The good news is, cannabis is showing promise in being able to help veterans.
In addition to physical injuries that are obvious to see, others have wounds no one can see. Trauma can present itself in many forms, including PTSD, or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. PTSD is sometimes also referred to as PTS, or just Post Traumatic Stress. No matter what it’s called, it’s not easy to live with. A great deal of our nation’s soldiers return home from duty with complications. PTSD and other injuries can make it difficult to assimilate back into life as a civilian.
Luckily, the pain relieving effects of cannabis have helped many veterans suffering from physical pain. This also helps reduce or eliminate their need for pharmaceutical opioids. Opioids are commonly prescribed to veterans for pain management. Cannabis has also been shown to help improve mood, promote healthier sleep cycles, and improve immune response. All of these factors can be affected by stress. These add more reasons as to why veterans are turning to cannabis as medicine.
So who is it that’s telling us all so much about veterans and cannabis? There are lots of veterans organizations that advocate for cannabis legalization. Dr. Sue Sisley, an Arizona based physician, is one of the world’s top researchers on cannabis and veterans. She served as the primary investigator for the only FDA approved randomized controlled trial in the world. It examined the safety and efficacy of cannabis in combat veterans with treatment resistant PTSD.
She believes cannabis can be a great tool for veterans. She is suing the DEA to hold a hearing on the reconsideration of cannabis as a Schedule I substance. At this time, the lawsuit is still pending. If the DEA does remove or change the classification of cannabis, it will open up many opportunities. Doctors and researchers like Sue will be able to conduct more scientific studies regarding how cannabis can help veterans.
Then there’s how you can help. Family members and friends of veterans with PTSD often find it difficult to see their loved one struggle. It can be hard to watch those you love be in pain without being able to help much. One of the best things you can do is listen and support them through their challenges. Don’t let uncomfortable situations stop you from having difficult conversations. You might be able to save the life of a veteran. If you are a veteran struggling with PTSD, or any other ailment, talk to your physician about whether or not you could be a good candidate for medical cannabis.