The Battle Brothers Basis is working with a medical data firm to review how hashish can combat PTSD

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The effort, touted as the first observational study in the U.S. to determine the effectiveness of cannabis for veterans, continues.

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Angela Stelmakowich FILE: A U.S. veteran salutes as thousands of bikers and military veterans take part in the Rolling Thunder Motorcycle Parade in Washington DC on May 27, 2018.  / FILE: A U.S. veteran salutes as thousands of bikers and military veterans take part in the Rolling Thunder Motorcycle Parade in Washington DC on May 27, 2018. / Photo by ERIC BARADAT / AFP / Getty Images

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A new observational study, believed to be the first of its kind in the United States, is investigating whether cannabis use can relieve symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in a group of California veterans with treatment-resistant PTSD.

The Battle Brothers Foundation, the not-for-profit arm of cannabis company Helmand Valley Growers Company, and partner NiaMedic, an Israeli-US medical data and research company, recently received approval from the Independent Review Board (IRB) to advance the study.

Over the next year, 60 California veterans with moderate or severe PTSD will be eligible to participate, a statement from the foundation said. Battle Brothers was founded by disabled special operation veterans in the United States and is donating 100 percent of the profits to fund research into the medical use of cannabis for veterans.

  1. According to Veterans Affairs Canada, it is estimated that up to 10 percent of war zone veterans - including military service veterans and peacekeepers - will suffer from PTSD.  PHOTO BY WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

    Magic mushroom therapy could help treat PTSD from Canadian military veterinarians

  2. Once ethics approval has been obtained, official recruitment for the three-month study begins.  / Photo: AHPhotoswpg / iStock / Getty Images Plus

    Assisting military veterans in addressing the PTSD focus of the proposed Canadian study

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    After living in chronic pain for years, a disabled and retired corporal turned his life around by consuming cannabis

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The study participants dose and titrate individually purchased legal products at their own discretion. They are monitored for 90 days to “evaluate the safety and effectiveness of cannabis in relation to its symptoms,” at which time the results are documented and monitored.

According to Veterans Affairs Canada, PTSD is characterized by three main groups of symptoms, namely intrusive ones, such as emergency memories or images of an incident, flashbacks, and nightmare; Avoidance, including trying to avoid memories of the trauma, memory lapses, and difficulty imagining a future; and arousal that brings with it insomnia, difficulty concentrating, and the constant search for signs of danger.

A small study of seven veterans – and the partners of seven of them – with chronic PTSD, published last July and using a variety of different cannabis strains and dosages, reported various therapeutic effects, including increased quality of sleep.

A detailed report from the 2019 Veterans Health and Medical Cannabis Study found that military veterans report using medical cannabis for health conditions such as chronic pain, PTSD, and anxiety. “Veterans reported that using medicinal cannabis significantly improved their physical and mental health problems, and an overwhelming majority of veterans use cannabis as an alternative to prescription or over-the-counter drugs.”

“Veterans reported that using medicinal cannabis significantly improved their physical and mental health problems.” /. Photo by monkeybusinessimages / iStock / Getty Images Plus

It is believed that cannabinoids can help “modulate the release of certain neurotransmitters that are involved in mood and memory,” according to information from McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario.

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“Studies in animals have shown that cannabinoids can prevent stress from interfering with emotional functioning and memory, easing the dying out of fear responses, and producing a fear-like effect,” it said. However, two cross-sectional studies in the US found that “veterans’ cannabis use disorders were linked to self-harm and suicide,” she warns.

Nonetheless, it adds that “an effective treatment for PTSD is urgently needed and we need to know whether medical cannabis is such a strategy.”

It may be that research is only just beginning to catch up with what is happening on the ground. A study published in 2016 concluded that cannabis use was common, if not widespread, among veterans seeking specialized PTSD treatment.

“This news could not come at a better time,” said the founder and chairman of the Battle Brothers Foundation of the decision to approve the study. /. Photo from iStock / Getty Images Plus

“It may be possible to identify and treat people who use cannabis in specialized clinics (e.g. PTSD clinics) where they are likely to appear to treat the associated mental health problems,” the study authors write.

“This news couldn’t come at a better time,” said Bryan Buckley, founder and chairman of the Battle Brothers Foundation, of the IRB’s approval of the new observational study. “Every day 22 veterans die from the effects of post-traumatic stress ranging from opioid addiction to depression. We know through anecdotal experience that cannabis can relieve symptoms and provide relief, ”Buckley adds.

Last August, Ontario-based Avail Cannabis announced it would seek ethical approval for an observational study focused on determining the “optimal cannabinoid profile and therapeutic dose of medicinal cannabis oil for military veterans with PTSD.”

The company continues to open study recruitment centers, all located in close proximity to the Canadian Armed Forces across Ontario. Three more centers should open in December, according to Avail Cannabis.

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