By Michael Saunders
Due to being placed in highly stressful situations and environments for sustained periods of time, veterans and active service members are among the most likely members of our population to suffer from PTSD (Department of Veterans Affairs, 2019). Whether that’s the stress of having to worry about deployment to a war zone to perform your duties, having been in one or more tours of duty in a war zone, having seen the carnage associated with war, or having been injured, or experienced loss of a friend or loved one as a result of combat, PTSD is pervasive among active and veteran service members. It is often the case that the veteran will suffer in silence, which can often lead to self-medicating (and substance abuse) by the individual to treat their symptoms.
It is frequently the case that combat veterans turn to drugs and alcohol in order to escape from the stress, anxiety and pain associated with PTSD. Other folks are prescribed heavy anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medications that have harmful long-term side effects. For some people, dealing with the stress, anxiety, pain and depression becomes too much to handle, which leads to contemplating suicide, and/or carrying out the act. Sadly, suicides among veterans has increased 25.6 % from 2005-2017 (Hasse, Oleinic & Zdinjak, 2019). In Maine, this average is a little lower, but still above the national average for suicides. The data is clear, veterans are impacted by suicide more than other populations of people, and that seems to be true for Mainers as well.
In spite of the social stigma still associated with cannabis use, many veterans have turned to using cannabis to treat their PTSD with tremendous success. Although on a federal level, cannabis is considered having no medical value, that may be changing soon too. Recently, CBD derived products became approved for VA doctors to prescribe to veterans, and VA doctors have also been told they can recommend medical cannabis use to patients in states that have a medical program. The individual cannabinoids in the plant have anti-anxiety and anti-inflammatory properties that our bodies are able to naturally process and eliminate, while many of the prescription pharmaceuticals prescribed to veterans with depression and PTSD can increase thoughts of suicide and hopelessness in the people who take them.
The top symptoms that veterans are reporting to suffer from are all treatable with cannabis, and includes things like insomnia, extreme anxiety, restlessness, nightmares, flashbacks, social anxiety, depressed moods and pain. We are a culture that is trained to take a pill to treat our physical and psychological ailments, to our detriment.
We used to be a culture immersed in the use of plant medicine borrowed from cultures as diverse as the US’s cultural landscape became in the early 1900’s. With the development of corporate pharmacology, plant medicine was stripped from our culture for about 100 years. However, as a culture, we are starting to move back in the direction of appreciating and using plan derived medicines.
In support of the movement toward plant derived medicine in Maine and in dedication to our state’s veterans, Soylent Greens would like to pay for med card consultation fees for any veteran who would like to be a med patient, but is unable to afford the fees. If you or someone you know is a veteran of our armed services who would benefit from the use of cannabis to treat their medical conditions, please contact Michael Saunders at 207-332-3964, or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. In order to qualify as a patient in Maine, you have to be a Maine resident and have a state ID. We also offer 10% off every order for veterans as well.
If you are a veteran, or any person for that matter, and are considering harming yourself, please contact 2-1-1 to get access to free mental health services. I’d like to personally thank all the men and woman who put their lives on the line, so that I can do the work I love doing so much.