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4 Benefits of Marijuana for Veterans with PTSD

by Scott Mollette

Military veterans from Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan suffer from debilitating post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The numbers are sketchy since PTSD is not always diagnosed until many years subsequent to a harrowing or life-threatening event. Nevertheless, the Veterans Administration estimates that PTSD affects up to 20% of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom veterans, somewhere between 10-12% of Gulf War veterans, and close to 30% of Vietnam War veterans. With the prevalence continuing to rise as wars rage on and veterans seek treatment for the anxiety disorder, some professionals within the medical community have recognized the benefits of marijuana for treating those who suffer from PTSD. What follows are 4 essential benefits of marijuana for veterans living with PTSD.

•    One medication versus many. Psychiatrists treat vets with up to a half-dozen medications at a time dependent on their lingering symptoms. While antidepressants and various sleep aids cause some vets to feel like zombies, marijuana alone is able to treat the entire gamut of PTSD symptoms thus eliminating the need for multiple medications, especially opioids. The latter are responsible for twice the number of deaths among veterans as the national average. Marijuana is clearly an alternative to addictive opioids and other medications that induce a state of relative stupor.

•    Marijuana manages sleep disorders. Many veterans report sleep problems such as trouble falling asleep or remaining asleep throughout the night. Recurrent nightmares are also part and parcel of PTSD. Although research is lacking concerning the long-term effectiveness of treating sleep problems among PTSD sufferers, vets have a higher incidence of marijuana use which they claim helps them overcome their sleep difficulties. Many vets also claim that marijuana use before bedtime allowed them to kick a far more insidious and dangerous alcohol habit that formerly helped them sleep.

•    Improved coping ability. Research conducted in 2009 found up to a 75% reduction in symptoms among veterans with PTSD. Vets in the New Mexico observational study conducted by Dr. George Greer, along with psychiatry experts Dr. Charles Grob and Dr. Adam Halberstadt, showed promising results. Despite weaknesses in the study’s overall design, the researchers assert that previous research offers support to their findings. The specialists refer to a small study conducted in Israel that involved 29 combat veterans with PTSD. The researchers concluded there was a 50% reduction in PTSD scores after 4 to 11 months of medical marijuana treatment. In the New Mexico study, vets stated that marijuana usage helped them with their coping abilities, sleep and diminished their arousal symptoms. While scholars have cast a doubtful eye on the study since it was anecdotal based, it is nevertheless reasonable to trust veterans proffering their opinion as to how pot has diminished their anger and turned their lives around.

•    Rage reduction. Myriad anecdotal accounts by vets suggest that marijuana reduces their rage, a common symptom of PTSD. Clinical studies have yet to provide statistical proof but research, severely limited by politics, is ongoing. At this juncture, the only association with marijuana and violence stems from withdraw symptoms in heavy users.

During the summer of 2016, both the House and Senate overwhelmingly voted to offer an amendment to the 2017 Military Construction Appropriations Bill. President Obama is expected to sign the legislation before he leaves office. In the interim, veterans seeking to use marijuana medically to treat their symptoms of PTSD should consult with their physician at the VA and/or private doctors. Scant scientific evidence supports marijuana use for treating veterans with PTSD; however, anecdotal evidence remains overwhelming and awe-inspiring.

Marijuana Tax Revenue Uses

by Richard MacPhie

Amendment 64 was the tweak to the Colorado Constitution that opened the door to legal marijuana use in the state, along with Washington State in 2012. Since then, cannabis and marijuana dispensaries have been popping up like mushrooms. Sales topped the one billion mark—that’s billion with a “B”—in fiscal 2015, according to the Colorado Department of Revenue, bringing in millions of tax dollars. Which begs the question, where does all that revenue go to?

Of course, when “sins” are sanctioned by the government—gambling is illegal unless you want a scratch-off or ten—they soothe the troubled soul by proclaiming that the proceeds are going to education, or saving the ducks, or preserving pond frog habitats, or … you get the picture.

The only problem with these laudable goals is that the pet project du jour is usually addressed in the state budget anyway, so when said projects get a boost from sin taxes, the normal allocations get shuffled to different pork action items as the money simply moves from one pocket to the other pocket of the same pair of pants. So where does Colorado’s weed revenue go to? Well, the Crown Jewel of recipients is something called BEST, or Building Excellent Schools Today.

There! Don’t you feel better about your 32-year-old child living in the basement, whose only emitted signs of life are the alternating sounds of a clacking game controller and the crunches of Doritos?

I mean, there not just building schools, they’re building EXCELLENT schools, and not tomorrow, they’re building them TODAY! How could you deny excellent schools? Today?

There is a sticky wicket or two involved in the whole legal pot thing. Marijuana is still federally recognized as a Schedule 1 drug, and since banks are governed by the fed, who backs them with FDIC, bankers are prohibited from doing business with known drug dealers, gangsters, or anybody falling under the wide umbrella of RICO laws.

While the Obama administration has turned a casual eye upon federally enforcing laws, some in the industry worry about the next regime. “Obama is going to be out of office in a couple of years,” said Mary Wickersham, a former BEST board member and director of the Center for Education Policy Analysis at the University of Colorado Denver. “What is going to happen with this revenue?”

For the moment, however, the industry is successful as a revenue generator. Weed revenue has outpaced alcohol revenue, and out-of-staters come and drop their Benjamins in Colorado, thus helping the state economy. And, the state is ostensibly getting the BEST schools built on the weed dime.

What is Shatter and How Do You Use It

by Scott Mollette

Introduction to Shatter
Recreational drug use is on the rise throughout the world as laws decriminalizing marijuana are sweeping the planet. That’s a good thing for people that like to get high and not run afoul of the authorities. One of the evolving trends are marijuana concentrates, that is, extracts. These are found in various forms, one of which is the ever popular Shatter.

Okay, what is Shatter?
Shatter is basically just processed hash oil for all intents and purposes. In fact, Shatter is an extract of the plant Cannabis sativa, or what we have a variety of names for: weed, dope, reefer, pot, rope, Boo and blunt. Those in the know, that is, extract artists, extract upwards of 80% of the THC and CBD from marijuana to create the potent concentrate. In its newly processed form, Shatter immediately reminds one of natural honey. In this sense, it is darker shade of yellow and considerably thick. However, when it is cold, it has a remarkable similarity to glass. In fact, the name Shatter is derived from its penchant for breaking or shattering if dropped. The chemical extraction process may be researched online for budding chemists; however, suffice it to say that butane is typically used to extract all of the resin and/or oil from the Cannabis buds. Finally, contrary to popular belief, Shatter will not blow up in your face when you use it. This is a vicious and false rumor.

Why would I want to use Shatter rather than weed?
For one, Shatter is trending and who wants to be left out of the fun? But perhaps the best reason to give it a go is for the intense high. This is not your grandfather’s skunk weed from 1960s Mexico, but rather a powerful high that can floor the most experienced user. I’m talking super stoned, of course, all dependent on the potency, one’s location, and all those other pertinent factors such as the extract artist. Yet another reason is that you might not like the taste or smell of marijuana. All good. Shatter permits a user to utilize a vaporizer or bong like apparatus. These are commonly referred to as rigs. The act of vaping Shatter is called dabbing.

So how do I use it, dude?
First and foremost, you need to purchase or borrow a rig. A novel way of vaping is with a vape-pen, a device that plugs into a USB outlet. Your local budtender likely has one, or friends that have been dabbing. Inexpensive vape-pens and rigs are available on the market. After scoring some Shatter, typically ranging in price from 35-90 clams, again dependent on the potency, a user should find a relatively safe environment to vape. Rather than a bowl, rigs have a glass or titanium “nail”. When Shatter is touched to the properly heated nail, it is instantly vaporized and inhaled by the user through the mouthpiece.

And there you have it, Shatter wisdom for the young and old. And hey, I don’t always vape, but when I do, I prefer Shatter.