Cannabis Patient Care - December 2021

Cannabis Patient Care December 2021

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32 cannabis patient care | vol. 2 no. 4 caregiver focus F OR SOLDIERS RETURNING to society isn't an easy transition, especially for those veterans who come back from war zones or are discharged from active duty. Our heroes sometimes suffer from poor mental health, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), chronic pain, and vari- ous other health conditions. Veterans are turning to cannabis as a source for healing and relief. Providing cannabis is just one of the many ways that Jason Hanley, owner of CARE Waia- lua, has set out to help veterans. In this interview, you will learn the amazing things going on at this cannabis farm in Ha- waii and how cannabis is being used to treat health concerns. Q: Can you tell me a little bit about yourself? A: Jason Hanley: I am the owner of CARE Waialua, which is a patient based farm on the island of Oahu, Hawaii that focuses on giving people with their Hawaii 329 or cannabis cards a place to grow, a place to learn, a place to educate, and a place to get their compassionate medicine. I was born in Battle Creek, Michigan. I'm what you would call an Air Force brat raised by Air Force parents my whole life. I ended up in the U.S. Army infantry for about three years in the late 1980s during the first Gulf War. I joined the military because I had lost my path in life and was getting in a lot of trouble. My parents were always at work so there wasn't a lot of guidance from them which we all know is very important. As soon as I was in the army for a couple of years, I real- ized what a broken system it was and I got an honorable dis- charge. I used my GI Bill for education, and went to college. I have a bachelor's degree in Marine Science from the Richard Stockton State College in New Jersey. I've been a US Fish and Wildlife Ser vice biologist for 21 years, focusing on terrestrial biolog y more than marine biol- og y. Invasive species is what my gig is. I'm involved with in- vasive species resource management for the Hawaii and Pa- cif ic Islands National Wildlife Refuge. I got into cannabis about the early 1990s when I was in college to provide can- nabis to my friends. Of course, growing up in a reefer world we were never taught the medicinal side of things. It was more like exper- imentation and trying to figure it all out. I moved to Hawaii with my current job as an invasive species biologist. We start- ed CARE Waialua in 2015, as we we started seeing people in pain and having a need for tintures such as Rick Simpson oil (RSO). That's where the whole journey started in a nutshell. Q: How did you get involved with cannabis and working with veterans? A: Hanley: I was a veteran myself, and we just opened our farm up and started doing our thing. Pretty quickly, we started seeing veterans showing up at our door. I'm the owner and my co-owner, Lawrence Rich is also a veteran. So we are already veterans to begin with and it just started happening. Hawaii, I believe, if I'm not mistaken, has the largest capita of veterans per population in the US. We just opened our gates and we started seeing it happen right in front of us. Veterans coming left and right. Veterans dealing with all the normal stress and anxiety, which is all related to the diagnosis of PTSD. We were just seeing a lot of people just dealing with all these things. A lot of the vets were coming back from Iraq and places like that. Just a lot of stress. What we saw in Hawaii, and I think it's pretty much throughout the military world, is a lot of people when they're released and get their honorable discharge from the military or dishonorable, whatever it may be, they are used to that stabilization of being paid and being fed and having a place to stay. The minute they're out on their own, things be- come pretty hectic and so we see a lot of homeless vets under the age of 30. That's what's been really alarming. There was a point in time where we were letting people stay with us and hang a hammock, and it was just too much for us. We didn't have the programs in place to provide that socialized medicine to help and heal. This became more of a hindrance than a help. We then relieved ourselves from that, and we continue to push forward trying to help vets in the way we can help them. The problem with Hawaii is there's not a lot of housing for vets. The housing that they can stay at that's affordable has a lot of drug problems with crystal meth or alcoholism. There's just so many factors pushing against them when vets break free from the military and start their own life and get on with it. There's a lot of factors in place that are really setting them back in time, and we've seen it left and right. We've seen a few deaths on our farm from heroin and crystal meth. We've also seen suicide. Every day, I believe there's 22 vets that take their life every day of the week. We're trying to help people as much as we can. We see a lot of vets that are just poor and struggling, so we try to get them some kind of medicine so that they can go on with their day and still remain productive. It's been a big problem. I'm a biologist and scientist at heart, so I just kind of pull the emotion out of it and just keep driving forward, which I think keeps me healthy and sane. A big prob- lem in society is giving people a safe and positive environment Veterans Farming at CARE Waialua B Y M A D E L I N E C O L L I

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