For those in active service, serving one’s country can sometimes come at a high cost. Women and men in active service often face challenges during and after service. Veterans can battle various health problems ranging from mental health issues like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) to chronic pain.
Let’s explore how medical cannabis coverage works for veterans and what services are available to them. This article will also take a closer look at some of the benefits of medical cannabis for veterans and offer tips on accessing coverage.
PTSD in Veterans: What You Need to Know
Almost one-fifth of Canadian Veterans will be diagnosed with a mental health problem at some time in their lives. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, anxiety, and panic disorders, to mention a few, are the most frequent.
Post-traumatic stress disorder( PTSD) is a mental illness that can develop after being exposed to natural or threatened death, major injury, or sexual violence during a traumatic incident.
War/combat, significant accidents, natural or human-caused disasters, and interpersonal violence are all potentially traumatic experiences. PTSD affects people of all ages, cultures, occupations, sexes, and genders.
Traumatic experiences can cause military-related PTSD during training, deployment-related combat, peacekeeping, humanitarian missions, or non-deployment trauma (e.g., military police).
Some of the symptoms of PTSD include:
- Recurring memories, nightmares, involuntary, invasive, and upsetting flashbacks.
- Distressing memories, thoughts, sensations, or reminders of the occurrence are avoided or attempted to be avoided.
- Negative thoughts or mood swings that last a long time (e.g., negative emotions, diminished interest in activities, inability to experience positive emotions, feelings of detachment).
- Arousal or reactivity changes (e.g., irritable behaviour, angry outbursts, reckless or self-destructive behaviour, hyper-vigilance, exaggerated startle response, trouble concentrating, or disturbed sleep).
When serving in the military, it is common for traumatic events to occur. Other military personnel in the service, such as Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) or first responders, may suffer from PTSD.
How Does Medical Cannabis Help Veterans With PTSD?
Cannabidiol (CBD) and Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) are the primary cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant. Both have therapeutic properties, but only THC has psychoactive properties often associated with cannabis.
These cannabinoids might help relieve PTSD symptoms by enhancing the endocannabinoid system’s memory consolidation and retrieval regulation. Cannabinoids help the system create neurotransmitters that could boost happiness, pleasure, and memory by activating receptors throughout the nervous system.
Medical cannabis could aid in treating PTSD by inhibiting the retrieval of the underlying trauma, thereby avoiding unpleasant memories and nightmares and promoting emotional well-being.
In recent research, medicinal cannabis has been shown to be helpful to all participants with PTSD symptoms among military and Royal Canadian Mounted Police veterans, particularly those who had failed to respond to traditional therapies. Researchers found a 59% decrease in the intensity of PTSD symptoms and a reduction in the negative impact of PTSD on patients’ social and familial life.
What is the VAC’s Policy on Medical Cannabis Use?
The Government of Canada places a high priority on the health and well-being of veterans.
This is why Veterans Affairs Canada created a cannabis reimbursement policy for medicinal uses on humanitarian grounds.
According to both Health Canada and VAC’s reimbursement policy, veterans must register and acquire cannabis for medicinal purposes from a federally registered supplier within Canada.
Veterans should also carry a copy of their registration certificate as confirmation that they are allowed to possess a restricted amount of cannabis for medicinal purposes.
In addition to the 30 grams authorized for non-medical uses, the Cannabis Act allows veterans to possess the lesser of 150 grams or a 30-day supply of dried cannabis (or the equivalent in cannabis product) in public.
How do Veterans Qualify for Medical Cannabis Coverage?
To evaluate eligibility for reimbursement, Veterans Affairs Canada requires the following papers to prove that the Veteran fits the requirements of Health Canada’s Cannabis Regulations:
- Veterans Affairs Canada will only accept authorization from one health care practitioner at a time.
- Copy of the medical document completed by the health care practitioner
- Copy of the completed and confirmed registration document provided by a federally licensed vendor.
- Multiple authorizations may be considered, but they must all come from the same health care provider.
Canadian Cannabis Clinics Veteran Support Team
Are you a Veteran of the Canadian Armed Forces or the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP)? Canadian Cannabis Clinics can help you find relief from PTSD, anxiety, depression and many other conditions.
With our team of health practitioners, educators, veteran ambassadors and a dedicated veteran program coordinator, we will see to it that all your questions are answered, and your medical cannabis needs met. Our patients’ welfare means everything to us, so you are guaranteed continuous support in-between appointments.
Our veteran team also manages VAC submissions on behalf of our patients, so you won’t have to worry about the stress of handling and following up on paperwork. Instead, you can interact with our educators and veteran ambassadors and learn more about what you can expect from our Veteran Program.
You may also read more on how Canadian Cannabis Clinics support veterans and how medical cannabis can support veterans.
How to Access Medical Cannabis for Canadian Veterans
Over the last five years, Canadian Cannabis Clinics has been helping Veterans navigate medical cannabis for conditions such as PTSD, pain, insomnia, anxiety, and many others. Our team of healthcare professionals is here to give you all the help and information you need at every step of your medical cannabis journey.
Make an appointment with one of our medical specialists to learn how medicinal cannabis may help you feel better and live a better life.
If you are considering using cannabis for any purpose, our cannabis educators are here to help and answer any of your questions. Call 1-888-797-9374 or email [email protected], and we’ll get back to you shortly.