Standing Committee on Public Accounts (PACP)

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Vets find peace at Strathroy pot for trauma centre

Post by Guest on Thu 04 Aug 2016, 06:11

Vets find peace at Strathroy pot for trauma centre.

August 3, 2016

STRATHROY - Ken Blanchard said he was downing 600 milligrams of anti-depressants a day to deal with his post-traumatic stress disorder.

The 14-year Canadian military veteran said he was taking up to six Percocet pills, a highly addictive opiate, daily for back pain.

Now off the anti-depressants and hardly using Percocets, Blanchard credits medical marijuana for helping him take back his life.

The 53-year-old was among a handful of vets working Wednesday to ready Marijuana for Trauma’s newest Canadian location, in Strathroy, for its official opening Thursday.

The veteran-owned and operated company helps vets dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and pain by helping them get medical pot prescriptions.

The 4,000-square-foot space on Metcalfe Street is equipped with a therapy room, gym and kitchen. There’s also a room that has the feel of a patriotic man cave, with soldier-themed art covering the walls and windows.

“It offers them a place to feel comfortable, it’s a safe zone for veterans,” said Trevor Ambroziak, a 25-year veteran and employee at the centre.

Katelyn Vey, manager of the new location, said the company expanded to Strathroy in response to growing demand from veterans in Southwestern Ontario. Previously, the closest centre was in Markham.

“We chose Strathroy because when dealing with veterans with PTSD, big cities can be tough. Strathroy is so close to London and accessible that they come to town without the burden of the big city,” she said. With 11 other centres from B.C. to New Brunswick, Marijuana for Trauma provides services to more than 2,000 veterans.

Diagnosed with PTSD, Ambroziak, who served in Bosnia and Afghanistan, said he was taking up to nine prescription medications before he was approved last fall for medical marijuana.

“I’m not going to tell you it’s a cure, (but) it’s a tool I use to help me cope on a daily basis,” he said. “I’ve educated myself on proper use and it helps immensely.
Now I give back to other veterans and help them with their struggles.”

Town officials, including police, visited the centre, said staff, adding marijuana isn’t kept on site.

Bruce Moncur, a veteran who served in Afghanistan, is apprehensive, calling medical marijuana a “double-edged sword.”

Moncur said he worries pot use could be similar to alcoholism that plagued veterans after the First and Second World Wars.

http://www.lfpress.com/2016/08/03/vets-find-peace-at-strathroy-pot-for-trauma-centre

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Re: Standing Committee on Public Accounts (PACP)

Post by Bruce72 on Thu 04 Aug 2016, 21:27

While I can appreciate Bruce Moncur's opinion, I have to disagree with him.  I went down the Percocet road, as well as the Lurazepam, Flurazepam, Ativan, and antidepressants road. And I was a basket case the entire time.

Then I discovered that regular therapy sessions, a self imposed reduction in alcohol consumption coupled with daily consumption of medical cannabis provided by VAC is key to my mental stability.  As I've stated in previous posts, I'm not 100% but I'm far better off than I was under the pill popping regimen.

My case may not be indicative of every veterans battle to try to be whole again,  but it may serve as a case in point to those who oppose the use of medical cannabis to combat symptoms of PTSD or other maladies that plague veterans.

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Medical marijuana growers push for cannabis oil coverage for veterans

Post by Guest on Wed 10 Aug 2016, 05:46

Medical marijuana growers push for cannabis oil coverage for veterans.

Aug. 09, 2016

Despite a Supreme Court of Canada decision that gives sick Canadians the right to use medical cannabis oils, Ottawa is reimbursing the country’s veterans for dried pot only, potentially pushing them to less healthy options of smoking or vaporizing the drug.

That has prompted a group of commercial medical marijuana growers to urge Ottawa to expand medical marijuana coverage for former soldiers – a small but lucrative patient base for Canada’s two dozen licensed producers – to include the ingestible oils.

More than 1,700 veterans have access to the largest publicly funded medical marijuana plan in the country, but they are covered only for the plant’s dried flower. They have to use their own money for the oils. Licensed growers started selling the oils last year after the Supreme Court ruled Health Canada was putting sick people at risk of cancer and bronchial infections by sanctioning only dried buds.

“We’ve never heard a good reason why [oils are] not being covered,” said Philippe Lucas, executive director of the Canadian Medical Cannabis Council, a trade group representing four licensed commercial growers.

Mr. Lucas, also head of patient services at Nanaimo-based grower Tilray, recently launched an e-petition sponsored by his local MP, New Democrat Sheila Malcolmson, asking Veterans Affairs to begin covering these extracts. Advocates have long argued that the correct doses of edibles can offer many hours of relief from symptoms. In contrast, they say those who smoke the drug must consume their doses much more frequently over a similar period.

A spokesman for the Department said in an e-mailed statement that “using marijuana for medicinal purposes is a new and emerging area in the medical field.

“As such, there is no commonly accepted practice for the use or dosage of specific products,” the statement said.

The spokesman added that Veterans Affairs will announce its overhaul of the existing rules “in the near future.” Veterans Affairs Minister Kent Hehr said he was “shocked” in March when he learned of an explosion in the number of veterans being reimbursed for medical marijuana.

The trend is largely fuelled by groups in the Atlantic provinces connecting former soldiers who have post-traumatic stress disorder with licensed growers.

Trevor Bungay, a veteran of the Afghan war and a vice-president of Trauma Healing Centres, a network of four clinics that sign up former soldiers for medical pot, said many of his clients cannot afford to pay for their medicine.

“A lot of veterans are just receiving a pension, which is really nothing compared to what your regular paycheque was,” he said.

Mr. Lucas said a recent survey of Tilray’s veteran patients found about half ordered cannabis oils when the company launched the new extracts in March, believing Ottawa would cover them.

In late April, he said, bills the company sent to Veterans Affairs for these orders were returned without payment or explanation.

Tilray absorbed the costs, but informed the veterans it would not cover further orders, Mr. Lucas said.

Orders from those patients fell from 183 bottles in March to just four last month, he said.

Mr. Bungay added that many clients find it too difficult to make their own extracts or edible products out of dried marijuana.

“It’s the same as brewing your own wine and your own beer – most people don’t know how to do it and can’t do it right,” Mr. Bungay said.

Mr. Bungay and Mr. Lucas said the cost of medical marijuana is offset because many former soldiers are using it instead of pharmaceutical options such as opioids (for pain relief) and benzodiazepines (for anxiety and insomnia), which, in North America have been over-prescribed and often diverted to the illegal drug trade.

Soldiers have told The Globe that pot has also allowed them to ditch their erectile dysfunction prescriptions – also covered by Ottawa – and led to other benefits as well.

Government data released to The Globe and Mail in June showed that, over the past four years, the number of veterans prescribed benzodiazepines – with brands such as Xanax, Ativan and Valium – decreased nearly 30 per cent. Opioid prescriptions also shrank almost 17 per cent during that period.

The set of statistics was too small and unrefined to prove any concrete links between the use of the three drugs. But U.S. research has also shown significant declines in opioid overdoses in states where medical marijuana has been legalized, according to addiction experts.

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/british-columbia/medical-marijuana-growers-push-for-cannabis-oil-coverage-for-veterans/article31338829/

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Re: Standing Committee on Public Accounts (PACP)

Post by 1993firebird on Wed 10 Aug 2016, 19:16

My application was sent today from the Marijuana Trauma Center.

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Re: Standing Committee on Public Accounts (PACP)

Post by Bruce72 on Wed 10 Aug 2016, 20:00

Right on firebird, I hope you find medical cannabis to be as beneficial as I do and the other vets I know who consume it.

I sleep more, have less nightmares, less anxiety attacks and my personal relationships are better and this is just a few of the benefits I experience.

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Re: Standing Committee on Public Accounts (PACP)

Post by Vet1234 on Wed 10 Aug 2016, 20:16

I was prescribed Cesamet (Nabilone) synthetic THC for PTSD and night terrors. I don't smoke Marijuana but it reminded me of the "body buzz" I had from hash when I was a teen. I decided to stop taking it about a year ago, it was pretty potent stuff. Blue Cross covered the costs.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25467221
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Re: Standing Committee on Public Accounts (PACP)

Post by 1993firebird on Thu 11 Aug 2016, 08:54

bruce72 another thing that you might want to try is the sleepgenie , www.sleepgenie.com. It is now to Canada and being supported for payment by Veterans Affairs on a case by case basis. It helps with sleep , pain and PTSD.

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Re: Standing Committee on Public Accounts (PACP)

Post by Vet1234 on Thu 11 Aug 2016, 09:03

I have a CES device like the sleep genie. I find it helpful in conjunction with the sleeping medicine I'm prescribed. The cool thing about the machine, is that you can use it for stimulation on areas of your body that are in pain, cramped, tight muscles. My psych recommended it and VAC covered it.
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Standing Committee on Public Accounts (PACP)

Post by Bruce72 on Thu 11 Aug 2016, 09:27

Firebird, I've had a Sleep Genie since 2009 and it's part of my daily routine. I paid out of pocket for mine, back then they weren't covered by VAC. I too find it helps.

Vet1234 thanks for the info it can be used on other parts of the body.

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