The Veterans For Cannabis Foundation, with the help from two cannabis companies, will be creating special marijuana strains specifically designed to help veterans combat PTSD and related disorders.
Medicinal Genomics and Courtagen Life Sciences announced on Monday the joint agreement with the Veterans For Cannabis Foundation, a non-profit group working to decrease suicide rates among our nation’s veterans.
“We are very proud to be working together with the Veterans For Cannabis Foundation,” said Mike Catalano, head of marketing for Medicinal Genomics and Courtagen Life Sciences. “Their mission of effecting change through data collection may ultimately help to reduce the unnecessary deaths amongst our veteran population, in particular for conditions where opioids are commonly prescribed. Registering the genetic fingerprint of the cannabis strains used will help control the consistency of the products and the data collection efforts.”
According to the Veterans Administration, there are 22 suicides of U.S. veterans each day. Nearly 20 percent of vets returning from the Afghan and Iraq wars suffer from PTSD. In addition to the staggering suicide figure, there is a growing concern of needless accidental overdose deaths caused by prescription medication, which occur at a 50 percent greater rate in the veteran population. The opioid epidemic killed more than 33,000 people in 2015 — many of them veterans who were overly prescribed pain medications from the VA.
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Because the federal government still considers cannabis to be an illegal, Schedule I substance, most veterans are denied access to medical marijuana. Last year, Congress gave veterans the right to discuss medical marijuana as a treatment option with their VA doctors in states where it is legal.
“The death rate from opioids among VA health care is nearly double the national average,” said Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., who authored the bill allowing for veterans’ access to cannabis. “From what I hear from veterans is that medical marijuana has helped them deal with pain and PTSD, particularly as an alternative to opioids.”
While the new policy allows VA doctors to discuss medical marijuana treatment and complete the regulatory paperwork for state-sponsored programs, it does not allow VA doctors to provide marijuana or cover the cost.
Monday’s joint announcement hopes to make the process more transparent and scientific. What makes the VFCB program intriguing is that the Veterans For Cannabis Foundation will be creating specially branded cannabidiol (CBD) products that can be tracked with the VFCF application.
Instead of strains named Green Crack or Alaskan Thunderfuck, the program with create strain names with names more palatable to a government committee that may help the data get a fairer assessment. Tracking the genetics will ensure that the connection to the original name is not lost, using StrainSEEK™ strain identification and registration services.
The program is free to veterans of all branches of the military and the products will be priced at a discount for those who served our country.
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“We are laser focused and extremely excited to be working with Medicinal Genomics and Courtagen Life Sciences to bring cannabis science to the forefront in the treatment of our veterans,” said Joshua Littrell, founder of Veterans For Cannabis Foundation. “With MGC’s StrainSEEK program we are able to take some of the guess work out of cannabis treatment in our veteran community. VFCF will now be able to replicate and reproduce the experience for veterans in our program. Our veterans are begging for a treatment they can trust and that is uniform. Now they can rest assured knowing they are receiving the same treatment every time.”