Seattle Vet Center chimes in on the health benefits of marijuana

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Many veterans turn to cannabis for anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder

A group of military veterans gets together each week at the Seattle Vet Center in Washington to continue their healing process after returning home from combat. There are a number of outlets available to them – writing, painting, counseling – but almost all of the vets have one thing in common. They indicate that cannabis saved their lives.

One vet served for eight years in the military, including a tour in Iraq. He returned home with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), as did a large number of soldiers and sailors, only to find limited help stateside. Doctors at the Veterans Administration ignored his pleas for help and routinely sent him away, leaving him to suffer from insomnia, depression and pain. He finally visited a private physician, who recommended cannabis. Within a few short weeks, he no longer felt numb, he was able to sleep, therapy became more productive and he was even able to complete graduate school.

Another veteran, who never saw combat, was caught up in the “just follow orders” mentality when he left the service. It took him a number of years to consider cannabis, but says that – once he started smoking – he was able to finally make the full transition from military to civilian life. It helped him break out of the “binary” world that is the military.

Yet another soldier was having difficulty overcoming the nightmares and tremors that haunted his sleep on a nightly basis. “Traditional” therapy didn’t help, so he began using a vaporizer. Within two weeks, he was no longer waking up in the middle of the night, screaming and drenched in sweat.

As the federal government (hopefully) prepares to introduce legislation to relax marijuana policies in the country, it would legitimize what hundreds of thousands of people already know – marijuana heals. It could help those suffering from life-altering events and, especially, those military individuals who have fought to keep the country safe.