Watch this conversation between Craig Ex from Expert Joints and former Canadian solider Damian Robertson who uses cannabis to treat his Post-Traumatic Stress Injury.
Robertson served as a Canadian Forces corporal from 1998 to 2003 with a tour in Kosovo, retiring with serious back and stress injuries.
Robertson said the injury came from being on tour, away from home, kept on an adrenaline high with little stimulus.
“For the most part, you’re bored, you’re not doing doing anything,” he said. “Boredom just brings anger, and it’s hard to come down from that.”
After returning to Canada, Robertson said he became dependent on painkilling prescription medication to handle his symptoms.
“People definitely fall through the cracks very, very easily,” he said. “How the military treats its soldiers is, you’re a tool, you’re a well-oiled machine but, when that tool doesn’t work, well what do you do in society? You throw that tool away. The military’s no different.”
It was only after taking cannabis several years ago that the veteran was able to leave the pills behind, completely.
According to Veterans Affairs, it’s estimated that up to 10 per cent of war zone veterans will experience post-traumatic stress injuries, while more will experience at least some of the symptoms.
“They’re measuring it PTSI because it is an injury on the actual brain,” Robertson said. “So when the new MRIs are coming out you can actually measure the scarring, so it’s quantifiable.”
Symptoms can include flashbacks, nightmares, anxiety and frightening thoughts that can increase or last for months or years, interfering with the lives of those that suffer from PTSI.
Nearly 260 million people are estimated to suffer from PTSI, worldwide and treatments are seen as largely ineffective.
“Current therapeutics have limited effect…current strategies will effectively reach no more than 20% of all Veterans needing PTSI treatment,” wrote Dr. Charles Hoge. “Significant improvements in population care for war veterans will require innovative approaches to in- crease treatment reach.”
This remembrance day, several businesses have joined forces to offer cannabis products free of charge to veterans and raise awareness for veterans suffering from trauma-related issues.
Derrick Sim from Thompson Caribou Concentrates said companies like Smiling Buddha Inc, Expert Joints, Glacial Gold Premium Extracts, Potent Industry and others will be taking part in the offer Nov. 1–10, 2016.
“What we’re going to do is offer cannabis free in all forms, whether it’s flower or vaporizing material, edibles, topical creams, whatever it is that a person can use or feel like they might benefit from, we’re going to, as a team collectively give them the medicine for free,” said Sim.
Canadian veteran can contact either Smiling Buddha Inc. or Thompson Caribou, the companies only need a name and an address they can ship a discreet package to.
Veterans can email [email protected] for more details.