More than $42 billion is spent annually on medical and psychiatric care. And with treatments like opioids increasingly out of favor, Americans – especially veterans suffering from PTSD – are looking for safe, reliable alternatives. And cannabis more than any other substance is ready to fill that void.
When a major problem exists, there is tremendous opportunity for a company or a segment of an industry to come in and create a solution. This is where companies go from barely known upstarts to culture-changing profit-generators.
When that problem has to do with health matters that have reached a critical mass, the opportunity is often even more enormous, all while serving the greater good.
A group of stakeholders who want answers and solutions right now are veterans and their loved ones. That’s because cases of PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) are increasing at an alarming rate.
Estimates by federal agencies show that up to 24 million Americans are living with PTSD, according to the Centers for Disease Control – and 22 veterans suffering from PTSD commit suicide in the United States every day.
The associated anxiety, depression, and physical pain also has helped feed an escalating opioid addiction problem – veterans are the most likely demographic to struggle with this type of addiction. They’re also twice as likely as the general population to die from an opioid overdose.
My team and I have talked to dozens of doctors and researchers this year in New York, San Francisco, Toronto, and so on. The word we keep hearing is: epidemic.
PTSD – and for that matter, pain in general – isn’t just going to go away.
But support is growing for cannabis as a treatment for PTSD. And that’s helping drive public opinion in favor of relaxing cannabis prohibitions as much as perhaps any single factor. And that opens up a whole world of opportunities.
Let’s take a look at some of the how and the who involved here…
More Effective Than Opioids
Cannabinoid receptors exist throughout the human body as part of the endocannabinoid system, especially in the brain. They help regulate a host of processes.
For example, when people are having problems with insomnia, pain, or bad memories, cannabinoid receptors help fix the imbalances causing these issues. Of course, medicines are designed to help the cannabinoid receptors do this job, in theory.
Unfortunately, narcotics and opioids tend to dull the cannabinoid receptors in the body, which causes the receptors to need increasing amounts to work properly. This is where the risk of addiction comes into play.
It’s something a long list of doctors have reported to us here at Cannabis Business Daily just this year. The list includes Dr. Ronald Aung-Din, practicing neurologist and Isodiol International Inc. senior medical advisor; Dr. Joel Meshulam, of Privia Medical Group; Dr. Michael Dor, a senior advisor at the Israeli Ministry of Health; Dr. Dustin Sulak, founder and medical director at Healer.com; and dozens more.
All of them say additional research is needed on the matter. But already, they’re in consensus that cannabis is a more effective, less dangerous tool to help treat conditions like PTSD than opioids or any other substances available on the market today, legal or otherwise.
This is why so many companies are working on potential cannabis-based treatments. There’s a world of good that can be done. It bears watching closely what companies get to the finish line first – whether it is an approved pharmaceutical or a CBD-based, non-psychoactive product that can be bought over the counter.
Those who do will find an enormous market.
After all, $42.3 billion is spent annually just on medical and psychiatric care, according to the Sidran Institute. And 80% of the world opioid market, one increasingly driven by veterans with PTSD, comes from the United States.
But that opportunity and product development will only continue to accelerate if support for cannabis as medicine continues to build.
And that concern is lessoning by the day thanks to some heavy support…
Unstoppable Momentum is Building Around Cannabis For Veterans
Medical cannabis legalization has been an increasingly popular topic among U.S. voters. More than 90% of U.S. voters, including a majority of likely Republican voters, support medical marijuana legalization. Those numbers are even higher when asked if veterans should be able to use marijuana for ailments such as PTSD. And a reported 93% of veterans support increased medical marijuana research.
The American Legion, the Veterans of Foreign Wars, and the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America have all started lobbying for changes to the existing laws.
Perhaps part of it comes from outspoken advocates that nobody would have expected to support cannabis for veterans, or anyone, just a few years ago.
American Cannabis Summit Panelist and former Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives John Boehner was once “unalterably opposed” to cannabis use of any kind. Then he met a struggling veteran who could not function as an employee or a good husband/father while on opioids. The veteran told Boehner of his success using cannabis, and it sent Boehner into research mode.
The speaker told us all that he found positive research similar to that shared by the doctors I mentioned previously. By earlier this year, Boehner had become an advocate as well as a board member with U.S.-based cannabis company Acreage Holdings.
Former Speaker of the House John Boehner recently joined the cannabis industry’s biggest players to cover everything you need to know about America’s next unstoppable economic revolution. During this historic event, they explained how cannabis could become our next $1 trillion industry… every step to full legalization… how the average American can profit from this explosive phenomenon… and John Boehner’s shocking marijuana prediction. To see a full rebroadcast of this extraordinary event, click here.
Then there are the unexpected advocates within the Trump Administration. Ex-Marine Corps general and current White House Chief of Staff John Kelly came out in support of marijuana research and use for veterans with PTSD. His stance was that “medicine is medicine,” even though it contradicted then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
That said, Kelly is still one of President Donald Trump‘s right-hand men. Sessions, meanwhile just resigned this week under intense public pressure from a president who no longer found his performance to be acceptable.
It’s likely no coincidence that there are no fewer than 70 active bills cued up in Congress right now. And most of them are related to veterans use rights and increased research efforts on the part of the Veterans Administration and others. Importantly, most of the proposals are also bipartisan.
It is a pivotal time for U.S. cannabis policy – and the winds all are blowing in the right direction.
Thanks for being an important part of the National Institute for Cannabis Investors,
Executive Director, National Institute for Cannabis Investors