After the Gulf War of the early ’90s, Dr. Tod Mikuriya began treating Desert Storm veterans for PTSD. He found that many of his patients, which also included vets from Vietnam, smoked cannabis to mitigate flashback nightmares as well as the sudden fits of anxiety, fury, and deep depression that are all associated with PTSD.
In a paper on cannabis as an ‘easement’ for PTSD, Dr. Mikuriya wrote, “Cannabis enhances the quality of sleep. The importance of restoring circadian rhythm of sleep cannot be overstated in the management of PTSD. Avoidance of alcohol is important in large part because of the adverse effects on sleep… Restorative exercise and diet are requisite components of treatment of PTSD and depression. Cannabis does not leave the patient too immobile to exercise, as do come analgesics, sedatives, benzodiazapenes, etc.”
He went on to say that that the side effects of cannabis consumption seem “especially benign when contrasted with those of the prevailing treatments,” and that “cannabis should be considered first,” for PTSD treatment.
All of this didn’t stop the state and their enforcement dogs from persecuting military veterans who’d chosen to use cannabis.
Charles “Eddy” Lepp, a patient of Dr. Mikuriya and a PTSD suffering Vietnam vet was arrested in July 1997 when local narcs raided his property on which he had been growing fifty-one plants. Fortunately, he was acquitted by a jury of his peers after he testified on his own behalf, “I’ve done nothing wrong. I’m a goddamn war hero. Ninety percent of what’s wrong with me can be traced to my service years. I need marijuana… I get bad when I drink alcohol.”
Another Vietnam vet, B.E. Smith, wasn’t so lucky. He was also busted in the summer of ’97 for growing eighty-seven plants. At his trial, the Judge refused to allow medical evidence to be introduced. Smith was ultimately convicted of possession and “manufacturing” marijuana, and was sentenced to twenty-seven months in a federal prison.
Today, the PTSD suffering veterans from the last two decades of the “War on Terror” have it a little easier in that they can get cannabis relief much easier. The stigma has diminished, cops’ eagerness to enforce seems to have somewhat lessened, and in many places laws have been relaxed.
There has also been the recent development of Delta-8 THC products which has created a federally legal option for full-bodied cannabis products.
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This has been another edition of “420 Words”
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