Veterans in the United States are arguably one of the most voiceless and overlooked people groups in the country. Currently, there are more than 20 million military veterans in the United States, and there is a complete lack of resources and options available to these people who may be struggling with finances, relationships, housing, work, career path, mental health, and so much more. Veterans’ mental health needs to be a much more prominent conversation when it comes to this country.
These man and women have served diligently and protected us from the threat of terrorism and other evil organizations that would like to destory us. However, we do not always return the favor in protecting our veterans from homelessness, unemployment, and mental health problems. Did you know that veterans are the most at risk people group in this country to death by suicide?
Many veterans who have been discharged from military service have trouble integrating back into society and the programs provided by the Federal Government are not always helpful. Are there ways that cannabis can help in treating the mental health illnesses that veterans suffer from? I think so. Many veterans feel that there is a stigma around mental health and trying to get help, so advocating for this group of people is super important. Using cannabis as an alternative method to treat anxiety, PTSD, depression, chronic pain, and other conditions that veterans have to live with may be really impactful in giving these people more hope and escape from their mental health problems.
So what are some of the problems associated with PTSD? What kind of obstacles would we be treating by using cannabis to fight back against poor mental health? Well, to start, PTSD usually manifests itself as a deep fear of trust in relationships. Many veterans who suffer with PTSD struggle to trust other people and this has to do with their desire to be able to control their environment the best that they can and reduce risk of injury (whether physical or mental). This can cause veterans to push people away and avoid developing deep and intimate relationships, which can add to the feelings of loneliness and isolation that they may already feel.
How can cannabis help in this area? Well, cannabis is actually a really good way to mellow out anxious thoughts that veterans may be living with. If a person is struggling to feel comfortable in social situations or trust those around them, it could be because they are staying hypervigilant of their surroundings and relationships; basically, these people are always on age. Certain strains of cannabis are great for taking the edge off while still allowing the individual to function and complete normal tasks from day to day.
Another way that veterans struggling with PTSD may struggle is sleeping at night. After our men and women have come back from overseas, especially in heightened combat situations, they may have trouble sleeping through the night without disruptions. Some veterans are not able to sleep at night because of their anxiety and stress, while others are inflicted with nightmares about things they have done and experienced. It can also be really hard for military veterans to talk about the trauma that they have experienced.
Many of them have repressed and compartmentalized their trauma in ways that make it really hard to bring up again. Using medical marijuana can definitely help veterans when it comes to falling asleep at night and feeling more at peace and relaxed in their own beds. In fact, many people suffering from anxiety disorders prefer indica strains of marijuana, because it creates intense waves of calm and peacefulness while you fall asleep.