Cannabis Patient Care - December 2021

Cannabis Patient Care December 2021

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21 patient focus december 2021 | cannabis patient care Plants Over Pills veterans rally at the White House in Washington, D.C. in March 2018. and empowerment of alternative therapies for veterans and their families. BVN partners with professionals, businesses, and other organizations to support veterans and their families to live a better, more balanced life. Ron Millward is the founder and president of BVN. Millward enlisted in the United States Air Force at 17 years old, served for seven years as a combat vehicle operator and an aero- space flight medic where he lost some friends to suicide, then began to experience PTSD at home as he sought to change the direction of his life by serving as a pastor for several churches. But he continued to struggle with mental health issues re- lated to his combat service. "I was really stuck on the pharma- ceutical trail, struggling with suicidal ideation, just not feeling myself but just could not figure it out," Millward said. A friend introduced him to cannabis, and Millward found that he was able to get some relief and star t to transition off pills. "But what I realized was there really wasn't much of a community for help with these opioid and mental health is- sues," he said. "There were a bunch of different organizations doing cer tain things or fighting for legislation, but there was not much community around the cannabis space. So I was looking for individuals who were tr ying to understand how to transition off of medicines, which was extremely difficult." There are some other larger cannabis advocacy organiza- tions, but BVN is a smaller grassroots organization based in Philadelphia, with veterans in the group representing ever y state and multiple countries. "We've seen folks that have never even touched THC in their lives," he said. "They've got- ten off pharmaceuticals, and took just CBD, which I think is incredible as well. So there's such a spectrum of people. But for me, I really felt like in the space there was a need for community and then introduction to other alternative thera- pies. I quickly realized that cannabis is not the end all be all. It's not the tool for ever ything, but doing other things such as learning mindfulness and breathing techniques and med- itation and incorporating yoga into my life was ver y helpful. So we wanted to create a space for veterans to get that in- troductor y level to those things." BVN operates in four different areas: Operation 1620 (17), a movement area, a mental wellness area, and a project triangle area. "Each of those areas touches on mind-body-spirit in dif- ferent ways," Millward said. As advocacy organizations such as his continue their work, he re- alizes that every veteran still has to face the challenges of working with the VA. "People are still afraid of it, because, honestly, our ben- efits are not protected," he said. "They could change something if they wanted to. We could be labeled with cannabis use disorder and whatever they wanted to do. So there is a scare there. "A lot of us are just confused. We've seen people's lives changed. I see it every day. And it's difficult to at least not even allow the research or for us to be able to have marijuana rec- ommended. Why wouldn't they be able to do that?" References (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) Veteran-Suicide-Prevention-Annual-Report-FINAL-9-8-21.pdf (7) (8) (9) (10) (11) (12) (13) (14) cannabis-united-nations-drug-policy.html (15) (16) (17)

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