Hello. Today I want to share with you some ways in which I do believe that legalized marijuana can make a positive impact in someone’s life if it is properly regulated and the user has received education tailored specifically to veterans. I have experienced two blood brothers who committed suicide, one of my brothers served in the military and one who never served. I have extended family members throughout my 30 plus years of military duties that have also chose suicide while suffering from PTSD.
Cannabis and Development
Years of medical research, particularly on subjects aged 25 and younger who have overindulged with the use of marijuana have shown us many things. When you look at the brain in specific areas, you start to see the areas that are most affected. One part is the nucleus accumbens, also known as the pleasure area. This area is affected by occasionally usages basis but is certainly more impacted when the user regularly partakes. The other part of the brain which is affected is the amygdala, which is responsible for fear and is the reason we are afraid of things outside of our control. Looking at this from a parent’s perspective, you can clearly see the negative side effects of marijuana on teens and young servicemen and women who overuse.
Veterans and Change
Here is what’s on many of our veteran’s minds when it comes to marijuana. Speaking as a veteran of several deployments returning home serving our country, life skill sets have been altered from the civilian way of life. I mean family, work, and community changes every time we leave on a deployment, or even if just move to another location. The veteran gets paperwork to read about readjustment training in certain areas, but how do you physically adapt and cope with this abrupt change? Some veterans are told to use the VA and sometimes to use a local veteran center. some of the veterans I talked to never went to the VA or veteran center because they were too busy looking for jobs. Unfortunately, most of the jobs they were looking for were in areas that they had never been fully trained in and the veterans were not properly equipped with the tools to allow them to succeed. A veteran suffers from frustration and stress relating to the life they learned in a military structure and now new stressors stem from personal home life and adapting to the vast differences between the two.
Where do you turn? That’s a great question as we do not want our veterans having to cope by using alcohol, drugs, or suicide. Most veterans can’t always find a doctor because they no longer have military benefits and they cannot afford most insurances along with their family obligations. The public may not understand that veterans are trained to be self-sufficient and have a strong sense of pride that is instilled in them as part of their training. This makes it difficult for them to ask for help when they really need it. They are training to help other in need because that’s a core value they believe in.
Moderation is Key
The veteran communities I live in just ask of us to give the facts and the alternatives to help get life back on track. Do not get me wrong, I am not going to say that the alternatives are bad, it is just when they are overused is when the problems start. I want you reading this to have the knowledge to understand the effects. As it stands, the cost of your medical marijuana card is expensive and the cost of the products can be expensive as well. You need to find time in your weekly routine to meet with a doctor to get a legal card and in some cases time to watch a video for knowledge.
I support the need for legalized medicinal marijuana in certain areas and at some point the need for recreational marijuana, as long as it comes with the proper knowledge and rules and regulations. As a U.S. veteran, I feel that my fellow veterans need specific training and knowledge that is focused solely on veterans and the unique challenges they face.