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Report shows veterans want more research into Cannabis option

Veterans and their families want more research into the use of Cannabis to treat PTSD and mental health.

A report conducted last year by the Atlas Institute and the Mental Health Commission of Canada reveals that  there is “strong interest among Veterans and family members” to further examine Cannabis as a treatment option for post-traumatic stress disorder and as well “more research and guidance on cannabis use and mental health.”

Retired Sgt. Chuck Isaacs who joined the Canadian Armed Forces in 1985 as a Combat Engineer sees his use of medical Cannabis as a game changer.

“Yes 100 per cent. I tried taking sleeping pills. They started me off with two – the maximum dose was 12 pills. And the only thing that it did was turn me into a zombie during the day. It was a game changer. I was sleeping about two-hours a night. It went from two-hours a night to six-hours a night. My mood and emotional reaction to stuff took a complete change. It toned it down to the point where it was something that I could handle for the most part.”

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Isaacs credits his new quality of life to medical Cannabis which he has used for about six-years. He says for over 10-years he used the typical treatment to manage his pain. He says there is concern on the part of employers that if you have Cannabis in your system that you are “high all day.” But he says it has to do with “the type of Cannabis you’re using and when you are using it.”

Isaacs says he knows lots of veterans on medical Cannabis and “they swear by it.”

His final concern is that there could be push back to have funding support pulled for the medical Cannabis option for veterans.

“I think there are people out there that would like to see the funding evaporate. Obviously there’s the pharmaceutical companies. I know guys who were prescribed 25-pills and some of them were opiates. And they went from taking 25-pills a day to taking none. The medical Cannabis companies have got it down to the point where it’s like a little strip that you just put on your tongue.”

Over 18,000 Veterans are approved by Veterans Affairs Canada to use medical cannabis.

Policy director at the Mental Health Commission of Canada, Mary Bartram says, “In order to honour the Veterans’ and Veteran family members’ diverse experiences and help bridge the knowledge gaps between users and health-care providers, we need to continue to advance evidence-based research hand in hand with the Veteran community.”

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