Cannabis and Combat Vets

For veterans, cannabis is controversial.
For active duty military, cannabis is taboo.

There is no mechanism for active duty military personnel to use cannabis simply because it is federally illegal. However, a lot of the issues from active duty injuries usually don't present themselves until years after leaving the service. PTSD is a extremely common symptom for combat vets. Plus, it's difficult to diagnose compared to a physical wound.

With PTSD, the main treatments are counseling and medication. A vocal segment of those using medication (especially antidepressants) to treat PTSD report negative side-effects such as drowsiness, loss of motivation, nausea, insomnia, etc. Because of these side-effects, many choose to self-medicate with alcohol or harder drugs.

One predominate side-effect of PTSD is the inability to sleep through the night. I suspect the reason for this is that victims fall asleep and, since the trauma is on their mind, it appears in their dreams as nightmares. In effect, the victims of PTSD aren't simply recalling the trauma, rather they're reliving it. This trauma recollection awakens them in the middle of the night and, due to the adrenaline rush, they find it difficult to quickly fall back asleep. It seems that the victims of the simplest of PTSD cases would benefit immensely if they could simply sleep through the night.

Some PTSD victims have reported success by using cannabis, especially edibles. Even people who've never used or studied cannabis are familiar with fact that it makes the user forget things while under the influence. This memory extinction effect is a key benefit for PTSD victims. It's been said that when we recall an experience, we're not remembering the actually event, rather, we're remembering the last time we recalled it. I'm not sure how that could be confirmed, but it seems to make sense. It is easier for me to recall habits from my recent past than my distant past. I recall my route to work much clearer than my route to grammar school, even though I went to the same school for six years.

Who would have thought that forgetting could be beneficial? 


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