A group of veterans in Nevada recently participated in a tour of a local Las Vegas dispensary and told of how medical cannabis has improved their quality of life since leaving the service.
The tour –hosted by the Las Vegas Medical Marijuana Association, which promotes medical cannabis in and around Nevada– allowed the participating veterans to relate their stories how medical cannabis has improved their conditions.
“Marijuana changed my life,” said Army veteran Cristina Alfonso-Zea, who says she effectively treats her PTSD with cannabis after initially trying to cope by turning to synthetic marijuana, alcohol, and other substances. “From the time I left the military, I attempted suicide every year…After a while, opiates don’t work.”
Cristina’s sentiments were echoed by former Top Gun Commander Shane Terry, who use medical cannabis to alleviate chronic pain from a combat injury, as well as to relieve neck pain and to help falling asleep.
“Twenty-two veterans a day commit suicide,” he says. “And about 10 percent of your veteran community suffers from substance abuse.”
Jim Blasco –one of the owners of Silver Sage Wellness, the dispensary that was the focus of the tour– said that people suffering from PTSD, veterans in particular, should become more of a focus in the medical community.
“There’s the special-needs community and the PTSD with the vets who are sitting there suffering through, and we as a society have just kind of gone by it,” he says. “It’s time to start addressing it.”
While full federal acknowledgement of cannabis’ use in treating PTSD may still be a long way off, the federal government is nonetheless stepping up to take notice: the DEA in April approved of the first clinical study of cannabis for use in the treatment of PTSD.