Veterans Day is a U.S. legal holiday dedicated to American veterans of all wars, with Veterans Day 2023 occurring on Saturday, November 11. With Veterans Day approaching this article takes a look at the cannabis benefits for Veterans and their health issues.
The origins of Veterans Day began in 1918, on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, an armistice, or temporary cessation of hostilities, was declared between the Allied nations and Germany in World War l, then known as “the Great War.”
Commemorated in many countries as Armistice Day the following year, November 11th became a federal holiday in the United States in 1938. In the aftermath of World War ll and the Korean War, Armistice Day thus became known as Veterans Day.
Veterans’ Health Issues
Many veterans experience chronic health issues – both physical and psychological (whether combat-related or otherwise).
Some of the common health problems experienced by veterans:
- Musculoskeletal and joint injuries and pain
- Tinnitus and hearing loss
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI), which can be caused by a blow or joint to the head
- Mental health issues, such as anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and substance use
- Chemical exposure, which can lead to various health complications
- Suicide risk, which can be influenced by stress, trauma, and mental health problems
Cannabis Use for Medical Ailments
For some time, cannabis products have been explored for their potential benefits for veterans and active military personnel dealing with various service-related issues. It’s important to note that while some individuals may find relief from these conditions with cannabis, its use should be approached with caution for some individuals if there are other underlying health issues or when combined with prescribed pharmaceutical medications.
Each cannabis user will experience its effects differently, so a best practice for newer consumers is to microdose (start with small amounts) different products with various THC/CBD ratios and recommended strains – as all strains are not created equal:
CBD generally has “no” high (unless it contains some ratio of THC) but can offer an overall calming effect.
Here’s a list of how cannabis products may potentially help with certain conditions:
- PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder):
- Cannabis may offer relief from symptoms like flashbacks and anxiety.
- Some studies suggest certain strains (Lime Infused Mini Pre-roll Blueberry Headband) could help in managing trauma-related symptoms.
- Certain strains of cannabis with balanced THC and CBD ratios (Wyld Fruit Chews Pomegranate CBD 1:1) might alleviate anxiety.
- Low doses of CBD can be calming without causing intoxication.
- Cannabis may temporarily elevate mood in some users.
For some, cannabis can imbue the mind with an elevated sense of engagement and motivation. Strains like Heavy Hitters Vape Cartridge – Jack Herer can stimulate hunger, conversation with friends, and interest in hobbies and creative escapes.
- Chronic Pain:
- Cannabis may offer relief from pain, including neuropathic pain – especially time-released transdermal products that enter the bloodstream with a blend of THC and CBD like Mary’s Medicinals Transdermal Patch 1:1.
- CBD products could be effective for managing chronic pain without the psychoactive effects of THC such as extra strength Emerald Bay Extracts RSO High-CBD.
- Other Conditions:
- Nausea and vomiting: Cannabis (such as Blue Dream) can be beneficial for those dealing with chemotherapy-induced nausea.
- Muscle spasms: RSO high-CBD extracts may help alleviate symptoms in conditions like multiple sclerosis.
- Appetite stimulation: Some patients find cannabis helpful for stimulating appetite (strains like Thin Mintz), particularly after certain medical treatments.
Not all individuals will respond the same way to cannabis, and its use should be carefully monitored, especially in those with a history of substance abuse. Furthermore, cannabis should only be used as part of a comprehensive treatment plan that may include therapy, counseling, and other therapies for these conditions.
VA and Marijuana – What Veterans need to know
Many states in the U.S. have approved the use of cannabis for medical and/or recreational use. Despite the benefits of cannabis for Veterans, federal law classifies marijuana as a Schedule One Controlled Substance. This makes it illegal in the eyes of the federal government, therefore, VA health care providers may not recommend it or assist Veterans to obtain it.
Veteran participation in state marijuana programs does not affect eligibility for VA care and services. VA providers can and do discuss marijuana use with Veterans as part of comprehensive care planning and adjust treatment plans as necessary. More information on medical marijuana and the VA can be found on the website of the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs.