Are you or is someone you love a veteran? If so, please allow us to thank you! Has cannabis been of benefit to our GN veterans? Have you had issues dealing with the VA and cannabis? Please share how you your life has been improved by cannabis after your service. This thread is to discuss veterans issues in cannabis.
I am generally reluctant to chat regarding what happened overseas, as I still recovering and living with the results of that experience.
I have been in a review of my disabilities with the VA since 1975 and we finally reached an agreement 2017 at 70% mission related.
In 2000 I was granted a California mmj card, based on my VA medical record and outside evaluations regarding PTSD, (anxiety insomnia, physical injury).
My VA physicians have followed and annotated my cannabis use and their evaluations of my antidotes and physical testing.
In 2008 my VA shrink (a great doctor) of 10 years retired. While over that period of care he continued to suggest that I continue my medical cannabis use, was able to reduce my dependence on psychotropic medications, but was unable to prescribe it. When his replacement (Swiss educated) and brand new to the VA saw me at my first scheduled appointment he decided that my cannabis therapy appeared effective based on his interpitation and actually prescribed it (noted in my VA records) and suggested that I add cbd to help with pain management and I was able to reduce my dependence over the next year. Unfortunately the VA pharmacy informed me that they were unable to fill it under current policy and within 6 months my new doctor left the VA based on Medical policies and went on to lead our county’s mental health organization. My current doc agrees with my previous physicians based on his continued evaluations.
From my point of view, yes, cannabis has allowed me to maintain a mostly civil demeanor, a job, family and a life rather than incarceration, debilitating medication, personal failure or civil disobedience. It has enabled me to obtain an advanced college degree, become self-sufficient, generally happy, establish lifelong friendships, deal with the general public civilly and have passion.
Regardless of my VA experiences, I have grown cannabis since I returned to help cope with my symptoms and fascination with the biology of the plants. Since then I have been on a hunt to find the strain that works for me.
I’d like to relay an experience I had at the VA in 2018.
In September I had a series of strokes (3) that resulted in my hospital stay and operation to correct the issues. During my release I inquired regarding my cannabis use and any health effects. The discharge nurse said that I could no longer use cannabis due to blood pressure issues!
At my first checkup (72 hrs.), I inquired of my surgeon if the was any medical issues with blood pressure, heart rate, anxiety or my biochemistry if I maintained my cannabis therapy. He laughed and said that there has NOT been any definitive study showing any negative post op experience. My primary care physician and stroke management team were present as well and a discussion between them insured. As a group they decided that continued use as therapy for my stroke recovery and that it was medically appropriate for my original conditions. My Doctors are extremely happy with my recovery both phi ally and mentally and my stroke recovery provider said that he would prefer I used cannabis over tobacco or alcohol as a life style regardless of the medical results.
In conclusion I wish to say I have been very lucky in my relationship with my VA physicians. I believe this has come about by my steadfast research of the medical communities changing views, studies, being a self-advocate, challenging their views, stereotypes and the recreational issues they point to.
Additional factors in my favor include: I live in California, receive my care from the west LA veteran’s hospital, where UCLA medical school trains their surgeons, mental and physical health physicians.
I grow my own cannabis, that works for my conditions, but also test new strains for their effects and continue to research cannabinoids and their production and during maturation. I believe that the VA is moving forward, however slowly, but that progress is coming,