“Cannabis is a great option for me” for dealing with PTSD, says combat veteran Curt Bean. “It allowed me to sleep better. It allowed me to manage my anxiety. It allowed me to manage huge, huge problems and bring them down to smaller problems that are manageable.”
“I was on medications for a very short amount of time,” Bean says. “I realized they were not the right thing for me. And I realized they were not something I wanted to live with long term.”
Bean turned first to art as a way of dealing with his PTSD.
And it has worked well for him. Well enough, in fact, that he created the Art of War Project (www.ArtOfWarProject.com) to provide an outlet for other veterans also dealing with PTSD. The project is housed in Denver’s Santa Fe Art District in a building purchased by the Veterans of Foreign Wars.
“I never even tried cannabis until I was about 23 and I got out of the service,” Bean says. Once he started using it recreationally, he adds, “I started noticing that I was sleeping better, that I had less anxiety. I was functioning better day to day. And that’s when I realized I needed to look into using this specifically to treat my PTSD. Ever since then I’ve been very functional. I’ve been very happy using it.”
“There are a lot of veterans who just don’t know how to deal with it,” Bean says. “They don’t have options to deal with it.”
About 6,850 Americans have died in combat in Iraq and Afghanistan in the 14 years since 9-11. Twenty-two suicides a day translates into more than 8,000 per year — more deaths from suicide per year than the total number of combat deaths over 14 years.
And cannabis advocates, among others, say the 22-per-day figure is probably too low. The VA included deaths from fewer than half of the states in coming up with the number in its report. Several large states, including California and Texas, were not included. And advocates note a number of deaths listed as accidental probably were suicides.
An estimated 250,00 veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan suffer with PTSD. Many veterans say cannabis is the only thing that helps them. Some say it has saved their lives. But there are a number of legal and other obstacles preventing many veterans from being able to use cannabis for their PTSD.
Want to help? Go to http://bit.ly/1gx6fHK to learn about a planned study by Dr. Sue Sisley to determine whether cannabis is a safe, effective treatment for PTSD. Once you’ve checked on the information about Sisley’s study, we hope you’ll also click the donate button and make a donation to MAPS, which is sponsoring Sisley’s study.