Name a group of Americans that should be supported and helped. Many of us will come up with a variety of answers. One group generally stands out for most people (unless they are a jerk of course) and that is our nation’s military veterans. In a national survey done by the Pew Research Center, 75% of Americans supported increasing federal spending for our veterans—the highest percentage of all 14 federal agencies surveyed.
And it’s no wonder. Numbering 20.4 million, or 7% of our nation’s population, these individuals have literally risked their lives to defend our nation’s freedom.
Unfortunately, their service comes at a cost—and this is not referring to the cost in taxpayer dollars. No, this is the cost to the individual servicemen themselves. According to National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) our veterans have a higher risk of PTSD, associated sleep problems, and pain among other things. It is no wonder then that, tragically, the suicide and homeless rate is higher among vets than the general population.
Thankfully, doctors and scientists are conducting research that could have a significant positive impact on our nation’s cherished vets.
What is PTSD?
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition that’s triggered by a terrifying event—either experiencing it or witnessing it. Symptoms may include flashbacks, nightmares and severe anxiety, as well as uncontrollable thoughts about the event. – Source: Mayo Clinic
The number of vets affected by PTSD is significant. In their lifetime, 30% of Vietnam War Veterans experience PTSD. For Service Members who return from deployment in Afghanistan and Iraq, the rate is 20%.
PTSD not only affects the veteran, it affects their entire family. PTSD makes it much harder to function as a parent, spouse, partner, employee and a community member. This leads to increased stress levels and unhappiness for friends and family.
The rate of PTSD is not as high among the general population as it is among veterans, it is still significant. Approximately 10% of people will be affected by PTSD, resulting in an enormous economic and social impact.
Relationship between PTSD and CBD—The Endocannabinoid System
We’ve all had someone advise us during times of stress to “just chill out man”. Well, that is sometimes easier said than done —especially if part of the underlying cause for our stress is physical.
These underlying physical causes of stress are exactly what are being addressed in research. In July 2018, the National Center for Biotechnology Information published “Cannabidiol as a Therapeutic Alternative for Post-traumatic Stress Disorder: From Bench Research to Confirmation in Human Trials.” The paper details the involvement of the endocannabinoid (eCB) system in emotional memory processing. It states:
“Recent studies have confirmed the ability of CBD to alter important aspects of aversive memories in humans and promote significant improvements in the symptomatology of PTSD.”
The paper goes on to say addressing the eCB system is a better and more efficient alternative to standard treatments for PTSD.
“The eCB system plays an important role in the regulation of emotional behavior and is essential for synaptic processes that determine learning and emotional responses, especially those related to potentially traumatic experiences.”
The First Federally Funded Study on THC, PTSD and CBD
(Yes, that is a lot of letters—hope you followed all of that!)
The first federally funded approved study on cannabis recently got underway. The study, as described in ClinicalTrials.gov, has as its goal to find out if cannabis can reduce PTSD symptoms. The study is being done with 76 military veterans with PTSD. It will evaluate four different types of smoked cannabis. The four types of cannabis to be tested are: High TCH/Low CBD; High CBD/Low THC; High THC/High CBD and finally a placebo Low THC/Low CBD variety (more letters).
In order to qualify, participants must meet certain criteria. These include among other things: having PTSD for least six months and suffering from it at the time of the baseline assessment; following the protocol for dosing and deliver; completing all evaluation instruments; and attending all study visits. One of the most interesting of all of the requirements is that participants agree to video record all marijuana administrations and provide video to the site staff for review during study participation.
Anyone who has a psychiatric history or past diagnosis that would be considered a risk cannot participate in the study. Nor can anyone who is abusing illegal drugs.
Research is happening, but Vets need help NOW.
While this important research is happening, vets are unfortunately continuing to suffer. One estimate of the number of vets suffering at any given time from PTSD in the U.S. is 240,000, or nearly a quarter of a million people. So what is the official stance of the VA and military on the use of cannabis to help them?
The great news is that while the VA cannot recommend products containing THC or CBD, the use of these products do not affect a vet’s eligibility for VA care and services.
As stated at the U.S Department of Veterans Affairs website: “At present most products containing tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), cannabidiol (CBD), or other cannabinoids are not approved for this purpose by the FDA.” However, the site states that VA providers can and do discuss the use of medical marijuana with veterans as part of their care.
Even the Department of Defense (DoD), whose policy has no connection to that of the VA, is evolving. While the DoD continues to prohibit marijuana for current military members, in the area of recruitment, things have changed. At one time the recreational use of marijuana or its’ derivatives could be grounds for rejecting a new recruit. Today, recruiters do not have to bar the enlistment of those with prior minor pot experimentation.
Fusion CBD Supports Veterans
Fusion CBD recently announced a 15% discount on all products for veterans. Just let our representative know when you place your order that you are a veteran, and the discount will be applied.
If you are a vet or know one, please let them know that CBD might help with PTSD, insomnia or pain. Visit our store and try our full-spectrum CBD products.