Medical marijuana - a veteran's story
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  1. #1

    Medical marijuana - a veteran's story

    I've been in contact with a veteran who wants to share his story with others in hopes it will help open a dialog regarding the uses of medical marijuana. As I've shared before, I don't use marijuana myself, but I become more and more of an advocate for it daily for two reasons:
    1- the medicinal uses are becoming more and more obvious every day, and
    2- the reality is I don't think the government has the right to tell anyone what naturally occurring plant they can eat / smoke / whatever. Keep in mind I'm not talking about processed drugs here such as heroin, cocaine, etc, but rather marijuana, which can be grown in your backyard and requires no 'processing' to use.

    Please keep any discussion on trop (marijuana) and avoid the easy-to-fall-into tangent of legalizing all drugs, etc.

    This thread is about a man who willingly gave everything he had to serve, and is now having to break a law (which shouldn't exist, imo) in order to live.

    The following are 100% his words, not mine.

    First, let me apologize for feeling the need to stay anonymous, but I am being forced to break the law everyday just to live. I am not exaggerating in the least. Without Marijuana, I would not last a year.

    I am intentionally being vague with some of the following details, but, again, I am breaking the law and I want to live and be free. Part way through my second tour in Iraq, I was medically redeployed (meaning I was sent home) due to a serious medical condition (I believe influenced by repeated exposer to God awful burn pits and other harmful conditions but I can only be sure of correlation, not causation). After returning home and being on very powerful drugs for 6-8 months, the condition was under control. But the worst symptoms didn’t go away; they got worse. I won’t bore you with unnecessary details, but the gist of it was that it left me on the couch most of the time. Unable to even think well enough to safely drive, cook or even talk 4-5 days out of the week. I had almost complete expressive aphasia. I could with great difficulty say “yes” or say “no”, but many times, I wouldn’t even be able to say “I don’t know”. During bad “flare-ups” the left side of my face would swell up and I would have terrible pressure in my head. Normal “flare-ups” would “only” leave me with moderate pain all over to the point where I have to try and not moan. I could go on, but I think the former explains enough to understand that the life I was living felt more like a living death sentence. Understandably, living like this took a tremendous toll on my family as well. Before, dad and husband was in peak condition physically, happy and well adjusted emotionally, working on finishing a degree in physics, and financially stable. After, I was a wreck of a man, but I was also still a soldier. And I had hope. And determination. I knew if I worked hard enough, I would beat this. So I saw counselors and psychologists and tried every medicine the psychiatrists prescribed. After a year of no improvement, the army medically retired me. OK, I thought, my army career might be over, but I still have a lot I can do in this life.

    Fast forward 8 years. I had waited to file for almost 4 years, but I had finally swallowed my pride and was on Social Security Disability. Savings? Gone. Vehicle that was paid for? Sold. House that we own? Rented to someone else because we could no longer afford it and market conditions that meant we couldn’t sell it either. Wife? Going through her own hell working 2 jobs, taking care of the kids and hardest of all … dealing with me. Kids? Too painful still to even type details. Hope? Long gone after years and years of trying every medicine and therapy I could try. And I don’t just mean the approved ones. I even tried the experimental and the crazy because I knew it was only a matter of time until I hit my breaking point. I also knew that it was a race because if my breaking point happened before I found a solution, I was dead. After all, more soldiers die from suicide than from enemy gunfire or bombs. I was at the point where I wondered if I was going to die by suicide or by drinking myself to death. Even sleeping pills wouldn’t allow me get to sleep. I had to drink enough to pass out. Then it was time for the nightmares to start. I was close to my breaking point and I knew it. Something had to change and soon.

    In my extensive research during my more lucid states, I had come across some information that purported to show that marijuana could have positive effects for some veterans in similar conditions as mine. But I am a proud Army veteran. I don’t use drugs unless a doctor prescribes them. But I was also a very desperate man whose life and dreams were in shambles and whose clock was quickly running out. So I decided to try it. Initially I had no idea how to get it and I had (and still do have) legal concerns and marijuana purity (scared to death of it being laced or something) concerns. When dealing with what you truly believe to be change or death however, these formerly important concerns are subsequently dismissed. I bought some and smoked it.

    Wow! In under 5 minutes, I was speaking and interacting on an almost normal basis! I was slightly impaired from the marijuana but WAY WAY less than on either nothing or the massive dose of Xanax the psychiatrists had prescribed me. I thought this was fantastic. Even my wife who is one of the most anti-drug people I have ever met, was both shocked and encouraged. Oh my God! I am going to live and get some of my life back! Not so fast. No change that extreme is that easy. After about 2 hours, I was on my way back down. Smoked again and it worked for a second time! Only this time, I was more impaired from the marijuana than I was the first time. Still much better than without, but I began to realize the drawbacks. It works for about 2-3 hours at a time, but with declining benefits and increasing side effects (getting too high) with each use.

    I began researching how best to use marijuana for therapeutic reasons instead of recreational. I tried THC patches (think nicotine patches) with zero benefit. I tried cbd oil with no benefit. I tried edibles from a dispensary from a state where it is legal with no benefit. I began making my own edibles after reading about another veteran who after losing his family, moved into his parent’s basement and was in his own race between drinking himself to death or just getting it over with. He tried marijuana and saw the potential. No longer having a family, he moved to California and began his own search. It wasn’t overnight, but with help, he eventually learned how to tweak the extraction process. It is a time consuming and aggravating process, but it is well worth it. It took me another year of experimenting with this process and dosing, but I got this life back about a year ago. It’s very different from the one I had before, but it’s still a good life!

    I don’t want to get into the technical details of what’s involved in the various prep stages or the different times and at different temperatures that it goes in the oven or the stovetop stage, but I mention this because I think it is important to know that this is an involved process that has parts of many different peoples “discoveries” as well as my own learning curve and adaptations. Start to finish is 8 hours as long as everything goes right. 1 oz produces 36 doses for me. Because they do effect my thinking, I split each dose in half and take them about 2-3 hours apart at night. So 1 oz lasts me 36 days unless I have a crash day. Instead of 4-5 a week though, I am now averaging 1 every 2 months and the last 2 times were because I pushed myself to try and do something that I knew I should not attempt. The time before that, I had run out. The time before that, I thought I was “cured” and didn’t need the marijuana and got slapped down real hard a couple days later. The time before that, I had run out. So again, instead of 4-5 a week, I have had 5 in the last 9 months with 3 of those occurring during the exact 3 times I have been without marijuana. In short, it works and has given me my life back!

    It is now 11 months after I figured out how to medically use marijuana to save my life. We have since started 2 businesses. We have employees (and are actively trying to hire more). I am working long, hard, stressful hours (and loving being able to do it!). I am off social security disability. I am now able to help with homework and read stories at night and helped coach basketball this winter and will help with soccer this spring. I am averaging 50-60 business call a day and twice that many texts. I have even made a close friend. To go from where I was pre-marijuana, where most days I couldn’t leave the house, drive, help with anything, have a conversation with my wife or kids or even be in the same room as them half the week to where I am now makes me so appreciative of what I have! And now, my biggest fear is returning to that shell I was before. It would break me. I know it. I’m not proud to admit it, but I am not strong enough to go through that a second time.

    At first, I wasn’t going to include this part, as it is still very raw. Late at night, long after everyone else is asleep, when I can’t sleep, I often have mock conversations with a “therapist”. Conversations that I wasn’t able to have with a real therapist even after seeing various ones for years. Recently, one of these led to a breakthrough for me. Imagine the most traumatic event in your life and then imagine that you have absolutely no memory of it or even any idea that anything happened at all. Then you are walking in your house and this memory suddenly hits you with absolutely no warning. It was such an overwhelming feeling, that it forced me to my knees. Still to raw to go into any more detail about events in which I most likely will never talk about to anyone ever. I don’t know for sure that marijuana allowed for this breakthrough, but there does seem to be correlation here, and I absolutely think this should be studied as a possible treatment, maybe in conjunction with talk therapy, for many vets and other sufferers of PTSD because, again, more vets die to suicide than to anything else.

    I am not saying it is a cure all or that it has “fixed” everything. It hasn’t. I still can’t go to events where there will be many people in close quarters. And while some of the strains allow me to sleep, others tend to keep me awake for many hours (all have ‘almost’ eliminated the nightmares). I just hate having to live with the constant threat of either not being able to obtain my medicine or that it won’t be of a pure nature. I do NOT what to get high. I do everything I can to minimize those effects. I want the scientists to be able to research this and possibly create a pill that is safe and of uniform consistency. I strongly feel that I shouldn’t have to break the law just to be able to live.

    An anonymous vet.
    Oderint dum metuant - Lucius Accius

  2. #2
    BamaNation Hall of Fame Jon's Avatar
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    Re: Medical marijuana - a veteran's story

    Thank you for sharing, both CA and the anonymous Vet.

    I too would break the law in your condition and no one outside of Jeff The Elf would condemn you for what you are doing. Hope that you can find the way to get your substances legally soon
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    BamaNation Hall of Fame Bamaro's Avatar
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    Re: Medical marijuana - a veteran's story

    Marijuana needs to immediately be removed as a class 1 drug!

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    BamaNation Hall of Fame AlexanderFan's Avatar
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    Medical marijuana - a veteran's story

    The problem is we as a species have not shown the ability to use it wisely. Suddenly everyone would have a reason to use it for medicinal reasons and would abuse the drug to the point of their safety being in jeopardy.

    Two of the three people I've ran over at work were so damn high on marijuana (and others) they didn't care a freight train was barreling down upon them.

    It's not about infringing on your rights to grow it for me, it's about you infringing on my life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness after you've over indulged in it that concerns me.


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    Last edited by AlexanderFan; February 10th, 2018 at 07:53 PM.
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    Super Moderator NationalTitles17's Avatar
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    Re: Medical marijuana - a veteran's story

    For many people cannabis is a safe and effective way to get relief for a variety of ailments. I'm glad this veteran is able to function and have a life worth living now. I'm sorry it takes cannabis to make that possible, but life hits you square in the gut sometimes. Speaking of guts, it takes some courage to decide to break the law for the benefit of not just yourself but your family and society at large. Yes, this guy breaking the law helps society, too. Instead of being on SSDI he's running a productive business.

    Yes, cannabis should be rescheduled. I'd like to see something akin to alcohol or the regime in the several states where it is now legal for both medical and recreational use.

    Cannabis has helped those with PTSD, cancer, chronic pain, glaucoma, autism, seizures, autoimmune disorders, anxiety, and other conditions. The government's position that it has no medically accepted use is a complete farce - and this according to the government itself.

    AlexanderFan, I am terribly sorry that you've had to deal with the tragedies you've experienced. No one should have to go through that and I have no idea how it would affect me other than badly. I hope you are getting everything you need as you recover from it.

    I've seen many people who benefit from this plant. Many people's lives have been helped because of it. We've gained a lot of ground in making it legal and despite current setbacks on the federal level I am convinced that within a decade it will be legal nationwide to one degree or another. That will be a good thing.

    Back to AlexanderFan, without opening the whole can of worms here - our mental health system is in shambles. Services are hard to come by. People self medicate in ways that harm them sometimes. Some attitudes about mental health in general don't help the situation (stigma, seen as weakness, etc;...). I'd be almost certain that mental health played a role in the situations you've experienced. That's another area that needs our attention. I would hope both sides could be addressed (making a plant/drug that helps people legal for them to obtain and making mental health services more available for those who need them).

    Sometimes it seems people believe that taking currently available medications solves most mental health problems (that, along with maybe some counseling). The truth is that some people aren't helped by current therapies and others have undesired and detrimental side effects from the drugs. For some people cannabis is the only thing they have found that helps. It should not be kept from them.

    In 1992 CB1 and CB2 receptors were discovered. CB1 is found in the brain and throughout the body. CB2 is found on immune cells. Our bodies actually produce endocannabinoids. In experiments with mice it was found that cannabidiols not only caused the mice to have fewer seizures but the mice also became less anxious and more social. Other experiments have shown other potential benefits. Much more research needs to be done but that is difficult in the US. Israel is producing valuable research. IOW, early science and anecdotal reports (which should not be dismissed) indicate that there is truth to some of the claimed benefits of cannabis. And many people benefit from using cannabis without getting high at all (not that that is important to me). Rather than wait years for research and drug development we should just allow people to make use of cannabis without fear of losing everything in their quest for healing.
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    Re: Medical marijuana - a veteran's story

    Thank you, NationalTitles17 - your post means so much to me that it earned my first RTR-Full-Banjeaux.
    Oderint dum metuant - Lucius Accius

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    Super Moderator NationalTitles17's Avatar
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    Re: Medical marijuana - a veteran's story

    CA, if this is not the proper place just let me know, but adding to this veteran's story are many other stories where cannabis has been the only treatment to help. There are others out there, but this is the story of a young boy with autism who was helped by cannabis. Specifically, CBD oil that is high in CBD and very low in THC. He won't get high as it's made from industrial hemp and THC content is roughly 0.3% (also CBD counteracts THC's psychotropic effects). The difference has to be seen to be believed. My eyes would not stay dry after watching it for some reason. It also inspired me in helping my own son. That story is still developing, but early results are promising.

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    BamaNation Hall of Fame 92tide's Avatar
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    Re: Medical marijuana - a veteran's story

    Quote Originally Posted by NationalTitles17 View Post
    CA, if this is not the proper place just let me know, but adding to this veteran's story are many other stories where cannabis has been the only treatment to help. There are others out there, but this is the story of a young boy with autism who was helped by cannabis. Specifically, CBD oil that is high in CBD and very low in THC. He won't get high as it's made from industrial hemp and THC content is roughly 0.3% (also CBD counteracts THC's psychotropic effects). The difference has to be seen to be believed. My eyes would not stay dry after watching it for some reason. It also inspired me in helping my own son. That story is still developing, but early results are promising.

    there are lots of similar videos showing folks with parkinson's, seizures, etc
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    Re: Medical marijuana - a veteran's story

    Quote Originally Posted by Jon View Post
    Thank you for sharing, both CA and the anonymous Vet.

    I too would break the law in your condition and no one outside of Jeff The Elf would condemn you for what you are doing. Hope that you can find the way to get your substances legally soon
    sadly, throughout the south (and elsewhere) sessions is often the norm and not the exception
    The Party told you to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears. It was their final, most essential command.

    - George Orwell

    If they can get you asking the wrong questions, they don’t have to worry about the answers.

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    BamaNation Hall of Fame BamaFlum's Avatar
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    Medical marijuana - a veteran's story

    Quote Originally Posted by NationalTitles17 View Post
    CA, if this is not the proper place just let me know, but adding to this veteran's story are many other stories where cannabis has been the only treatment to help. There are others out there, but this is the story of a young boy with autism who was helped by cannabis. Specifically, CBD oil that is high in CBD and very low in THC. He won't get high as it's made from industrial hemp and THC content is roughly 0.3% (also CBD counteracts THC's psychotropic effects). The difference has to be seen to be believed. My eyes would not stay dry after watching it for some reason. It also inspired me in helping my own son. That story is still developing, but early results are promising.

    My son had a wonderful AAU b-ball coach whose son suffered from severe autism and constant seizures. He uprooted his family and moved to Colorado and started cannibis oil and the results have been dramatic. I agree that there needs to be a reclassification of the drug. I don’t know if I agree with full legalization but there has be a happy medium for compromise.


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    Super Moderator NationalTitles17's Avatar
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    Re: Medical marijuana - a veteran's story

    Quote Originally Posted by BamaFlum View Post
    My son had a wonderful AAU b-ball coach whose son suffered from severe autism and constant seizures. He uprooted his family and moved to Colorado and started cannibis oil and the results have been dramatic. I agree that there needs to be a reclassification of the drug. I don’t know if I agree with full legalization but there has be a happy medium for compromise.


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    I had a very long and well thought out reply ready to post before the cat jumped on me and zapped my post.

    To condense, I was in the same boat as you, the government is duplicitous, instead of paying $1600/month for legally prescribed THC (marinol) people can grow it in their homes, that I had to overcome my own ignorance and prejudice, that I wish I had known better so I could have helped my FIL (Parkinson) and my own father (Alzheimer's) have better quality of life before they passed, that only when recently forced to consider other alternatives did I fully embrace the potential benefits of cannabis even when I was for legalization.

    It was much more eloquent but this will have to do. Dang cat! Well, she just got fixed so there will be no offspring. muahahaha!
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    Senior Administrator TIDE-HSV's Avatar
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    Re: Medical marijuana - a veteran's story

    Quote Originally Posted by crimsonaudio View Post
    I've been in contact with a veteran who wants to share his story with others in hopes it will help open a dialog regarding the uses of medical marijuana. As I've shared before, I don't use marijuana myself, but I become more and more of an advocate for it daily for two reasons:
    1- the medicinal uses are becoming more and more obvious every day, and
    2- the reality is I don't think the government has the right to tell anyone what naturally occurring plant they can eat / smoke / whatever. Keep in mind I'm not talking about processed drugs here such as heroin, cocaine, etc, but rather marijuana, which can be grown in your backyard and requires no 'processing' to use.

    Please keep any discussion on trop (marijuana) and avoid the easy-to-fall-into tangent of legalizing all drugs, etc.

    This thread is about a man who willingly gave everything he had to serve, and is now having to break a law (which shouldn't exist, imo) in order to live.

    The following are 100% his words, not mine.
    I don't think I've ever wished chronic pain on anyone before. The idiot doesn't even know what the effect on the stomach is of taking aspirin long term in a therapeutic dose...
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    BamaNation Hall of Fame AlexanderFan's Avatar
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    Re: Medical marijuana - a veteran's story

    Had to sit down at keyboard so I can get my thoughts out semi-coherently.

    First, I'm not here to debate whether or not marijuana works in a medicinal capacity, because obviously it does. The issues I have with legalizing it and allowing it everywhere in a medicinal role is the absolute and complete abuse that would occur. The abuse would occur with people who have trouble saying, and those that don't even try saying, enough is enough. I truly believe that punishment from law enforcement and loss of their job are the only factors that keep some people sober, and even those are deterrents for some. Can you imagine a world where, "I have a prescription" would be used by some people to wander around society almost oblivious to the world around them? Nothing in our society has escaped abuse in some form or fashion, and I feel fairly certain that prescription marijuana would fall right in line.

    Secondly, my experiences were not meant to be for sympathy. I was merely trying to show that if someone with a very narrow interaction of the world can have two instances of marijuana abuse affect them directly, then I'm sure others can as well.
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