By Heather Ritchie, Staff Writer for Terpenes and Testing Magazine
For many, pain is understandable. It’s a part of everyday life. But the psychological trauma that our military veterans live with is something entirely different. Unfortunately, mental health issues carry a stigma and many veterans won’t admit that they are suffering unbearable mental anguish. Its also not something that we can see so often no one pays attention to it.
One veteran, 42-year-old Leo Bridgewater, served three tours of duty in the Army and as a Department of Defense contractor in Iraq and Afghanistan. Leo uses cannabis to manage the mental and physical trauma that he sustained overseas. He told Huffington Post, “I have an uncle who was special forces in Vietnam-he was into the medicinal value of cannabis, and he is also someone who I counsel with on a regular basis. It was through his guidance that I started looking at cannabis as a way of treating my knee pains and then also, my overall health, my overall emotional health.”
Symptoms and Treatment
Approximately 11-20 out of every 100 veterans from the time of the Vietnam War until now suffer from PTSD, including active duty personnel. The psychological trauma and pain are debilitating, and doctors treat this illness with a growing list of anti-psychotics and prescription narcotics. These medicines often have dangerous side effects like suicidal thinking, and the combination of these medicines only worsens the situation.
People suffering from PTSD often have symptoms like flashbacks, nightmares, and insomnia. They often deal with depression and anxiety. Leo, who was already a legal medical cannabis user in New Jersey, decided to try CBD for his PTSD instead of traditional medicines.
Another veteran, Wesley Clark Jr is leading a study for Alternate Health Corp that began in June 2017 on the effects of cannabidiol (CBD) treatment for military veterans with PTSD. Alternate Health Corp is hoping to revolutionize research and patient care through technology and compliance in the cannabis industry.
“It is unquestionable that veterans receive comfort and relief from cannabis and CBD,” addsWesley Clark Jr. “We want to demonstrate the effectiveness of cannabis and CBD while exploring Alternate Health’s patented delivery systems of sublingual dissolvable tablets and time-release transdermal patches as a method of treatment.”
The study is conducted at the Neubauer Center in Lauderdale-By-The-Sea, Florida. Clark hopes the study will provide irrefutable evidence that cannabis successfully treats PTSD and doesn’t harm the patient. Alternate Health expects the study’s results to encourage awareness and support of CBD within the medical community. Scientific breakthroughs in research may lead to new patents and the foundation of new technology.
Clark’s father is General Wesley Clark, a retired NATO Commander and Army General. In April 2017, the General joined the company’s board of directors and he shares his son’s support for the health of veterans with psychological or acute physical trauma. Father and son look forward to obtaining evidence to corroborate their strong belief in cannabis’s medical efficacy.
PTSD has yet to be added to the list of conditions authorized for medical cannabis. For Bridgewater, while using it to treat his physical pain, he found that is significantly alleviated some the PTSD symptoms he experienced. Using CBD oil along with herbal cannabis, he soon saw his nightmares subside as well as the agitation he experienced.
The suicide rate for veterans with PTSD is 50 percent higher than the average national scale. Making CBD legal and available for those suffering from PTSD could very well provide hope to those in need.
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