I'VE NEVER BEEN in the military. It would have been a poor fit for me: I look bad in camo, and the idea of carrying a backpack with 80-plus pounds of gear in high heat sounds really bad. Plus, the whole killing/not being killed thing.
However, I have tremendous respect and awe for those who have enlisted and who serve their country in ways that many of us will never be able to begin to understand.
I'm a strong advocate for doing all we can to support returning veterans, especially when you consider what a pathetic job this country does in caring for them. Veterans have a much higher suicide rate than the civilian population. Many of those who commit suicide suffer from post-traumatic stress syndrome (PTSD), a severe mental health condition caused by experiencing or seeing a terrifying event. That doesn't mean watching Donald Trump have sex (although that may qualify). It's more frequently associated with things like natural disasters, terrorist attacks, and military combat.
There are not a great number of drug therapies for PTSD available, and what's out there doesn't always work terribly well. But there is something that does work, and it's—that's right!—cannabis. A number of studies, both domestic and foreign, show that THC and CBD have profound effects in treating PTSD.
How? PTSD sufferers have built up an "endocannabinoid deficiency," making bad things tough to forget. Martin Lee, director of Project CBD writes that "normal CB-1 receptor signaling deactivates traumatic memories and endows it with the gift of forgetting. But skewed CB-1 signaling, due to endocannabinoid deficits... results in impaired fear extinction, aversive memory consolidation, and chronic anxiety, the hallmarks of PTSD."
Of the 23 states that have medical cannabis programs, only five allow PTSD as a qualifying condition, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. Colorado recently rejected PTSD as a qualifying condition, the third time the state has done so. That means you can qualify if you have chronic pain, but not chronic nightmares, panic attacks, and/or insomnia.
Patients with PTSD report achieving significant relief using products with a ratio of 4:1 CBD/THC. That's easiest to get via edibles, including sprays and chews, which allow for a more precise crafting of exact ratios.
If you suffer from PTSD and are not living in one of the 18 states that allow you to try herbal relief, obtaining them makes you a criminal. Fistfuls of opiates are readily available, however, because... um... they just are, okay?
We are going to continue to send our young people to war. They are going to continue to get fucked up while there. The least we can do is provide them side effect-free treatments when they return. And if there is anything we excel at, it's providing veterans with the very least we can.