Veterans throughout the Greater Lansing region are turning to cannabis to help ease the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder.
Pure Options CEO and Partner Sam Usman Jr. said the budtenders and staff at the company’s Lansing retail locations have been aiding veterans in finding the right cannabis products for years.
“Our budtenders make recommendations for veterans on a case-by-case basis,” Usman said. “When someone comes in looking for PTSD relief, the budtender spends a great deal of time learning about their symptoms and what effects they want cannabis to have on them. If someone is looking for anxiety relief, CBD oil may be the right fit. If a person is looking for something to help them sleep better, traditional flower or edibles may a good solution.”
CBD studies help open the door
Michigan cannabis nurse Cathleen Graham is working with Dr. Sue Sisley on the only Food and Drug Administration-approved study on the efficacy of cannabis in treating medical conditions of veterans and preventing suicide. She said research has shown that CBD can assist with fear conditioning by helping people release fear and forget memories they don’t want.
Additionally, cannabis can sometimes help with PTSD symptoms like detachment, irritability, nightmares, flashbacks, frustration, intolerance, issues with anger, avoidance, hyper-arousal and reenacting trauma.
Both Graham and Usman agree that cannabis is not the sole answer to PTSD relief, but it can be extremely beneficial in the overall treatment.
“We know that cannabis isn’t going to cure someone’s PTSD, but it can make a huge difference. We have many veterans who are regulars because they say cannabis helps them manage their pain and PTSD,” Usman said.
Cannabis as part of a well-planned program
Graham said she recommends that a person suffering with PTSD use all resources that are available to them. She suggests veterans incorporate psychotherapy like cognitive therapy, exposure therapy and eye movement desensitization and reprocessing into PTSD care in addition to herbal or prescription treatments.
Graham and Usman said although cannabis is legal for adult use in Michigan, veterans should still see a physician ahead of using cannabis for PTSD.
“Develop a plan of care with the primary care physician,” Graham said. “Come to your visit with a plan of what you want from your doctor. If you want to use cannabis or CBD, be prepared to answer the why.”
Once approved by a physician, Usman said veterans should go to a licensed cannabis retailer to buy cannabis products.
“Black market cannabis is unregulated and can negatively impact PTSD symptoms,” Usman said. “Licensed facilities grow and test products with consumer safety in mind. Budtenders will help you determine the correct dosage and find the products that will work best for the results you want.”
PTSD Awareness Day spreads knowledge
Usman said that they help people every day, but PTSD Awareness Day on June 27 is an especially important for his company.
“PTSD Awareness Day is near and dear to all of us at PG Group. There are more than 25,000 veterans living here, and studies show that up to 30% of them could suffer from PTSD. Veterans have risked their lives to give us freedom and safety. It’s an honor to be able to play even a small part in helping them overcome PTSD.”
—Written by Amanda Fischer, M3 Group