PTSD, veterans, cannabis & PUFFScoin

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is defined as chronic activation of the stress response as a result of experiencing a traumatic event. A high rate of stress disorders, including depression, panic attacks and combat related PTSD, is experienced by military veterans. In Canada, it is estimated that between 10-15% of veterans who have served in combat or peacekeeping capacities will PTSD stemming from their experiences in-service. Of the 1.7 million American service personnel who have served in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, it is estimated that up to 20% suffer from chronic PTSD. Consider that number for a moment. Up to 340,000 individuals who served in OIF and OEF suffer from PTSD. In 2017, the United States Army was estimated to have just 540,000 active members.

In Canada, Veterans Affairs (VAC) formerly provided reimbursement for 10 grams of cannabis daily to veterans who required that prescriptive level for treatment. They have since re-established this rate to three grams daily with a maximum value of CDN$8.50/gm. Part of the reasoning offered by the government was to curb the cost they incurred supplying medical cannabis to veterans who had served their country and now dealt with chronic PTSD. An “exceptional approval” process exists, crippled by bureaucracy, to enable vets to apply to have their actual prescriptions applied for reimbursement, but for many veterans dealing with the red tape on top of everything else feels simply like further trauma. Many simply do without the proper omaount of medicatin they need, or incur costs they shouldn’t have to, considering their recognized sacrifice.

PUFFScoin, as a subsiduary of The Leafy Cauldron Apothecary, seeks to alleviate this inequity. Employing decentralized blockchain technology to maintain a transparent accounting for its dispensary, The Leafy Cauldron Group wanted to use this technology to provide an avenue for persistent philanthropy. Every transaction between one PUFFSwallet user to another, every computational gas fee paid by a PUFFSnet user interacting with smart contracts and distributed applications on the PUFFScoin blockchain – goes directly into an account specified for the Veterans Endowment Fund.

This Fund will be governed by a Decentralized Autonomous Organization (DAO), the administrators representing The Leafy Cauldron Group, veterans, dispensaries, growers and members of the cryptocurrency community. The Veterans Endowment will be used to directly purchase cannabis, from dispensaries or growers, either by contract or by necessity, which will be delivered to participating veterans, free of charge. Our final goal is to supply the cannabis required by every veteran and first responder that needs it, over and above the reimbursable amount permitted by VAC. We will partner with growers, dispensaries and veterans in Canada and the United States. Where legislative environments exist that reflect a legal status for medical cannabis, we will work to partner with groups in those locations as well. Our job will be to build services on top of the PUFFScoin blockchain that encourage users to interact, to use computational gas, and in doing so, persistently support veterans support groups and causes.

Buy a bong on our onine store, or from a separate vendor on our decentralized marketplace and the gas used to secure the transaction will go to the veterans fund. Launch a DAO for your local grow co-op, battle your Dopemon against eachother in Marijuanopolis, solo mine some HER0x… you help fund veterans.

Cabbabis has been shown, even if one only accepts the vast library or anecdotal evidence – now being buttressed by studies into cannabis effects with nightmares, depression and PTSD – to greatly mitigate the symptoms experienced by those suffering with PTSD. With a pacification of symptoms, veterans can begin to enjoy a greater quality of life. In and of itself, there is nothing wrong with symptomological relief. That’s what taking aspirin for a headache, a diuretic for high blood pressure, opiates to control severe pain, or dilantin for epilepsy is all about. The problem is, up until now, many cases of post-combat PTSD has been improperly treated, although understanding of PTSD and TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury) in veteran’s reintegration programs has improved, treatment evolution has been slow. The current standard treatment for the psycho-biological pain related to PTSD related to cognitive behavioural therapies, SSRI antidepressants and opioid-derived pharmaceuticals.

There is a massive sociological impact of post-combat PTSD. Former servicemembers can suffer professionally and socially, facing economic constraints, breakdowns with family structures, alcohol and drug use or dependence, incarceration, and many times – suicide. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is characterized by several responses. Memories – often triggered by images, smells, sounds, or feelings – of the traumatic event can “intrude” into the lives of individuals with PTSD. Reliving the memory of past horror can become so real that they may have difficulty staying connected to the present. Movement, excessive sweating, and sometimes even acting out the dream while still asleep may accompany regular nightmares. People with PTSD often avoid situations, people, or events that may trigger memories of witnessed or experienced trauma. Many avoid talking about what happened, and cut themselves off from family, friends, and society. This often leads to depression, feelings of isolation and problems within the family.

After acute PTSD events, these people often see danger everywhere and become “hyper tuned-in” to perceived threat. As a consequence, they may become jumpy, on edge, and feel constantly on guard. This can lead to being overly alert or watchful and to having problems concentrating (for example, not able to read a book for long, getting only a small amount of work completed in a few hours, easily distracted). Disturbed sleep is very common. Anger is another central feature in dealing with PTSD, sufferers can be prone to angry outbursts with themselves, others around them, or the world in general. Many Veterans feel let down, abandoned, and judged by others. Many feel betrayed about the way they were treated on civilian reintegration on their return home or things that occured since. At its worst, this can lead to sufferers becoming physically aggressive and violent to property, to themselves or to other people.

Cannabis Therapy has been found to be very effective at alleviating the symptoms of PTSD. There is very solid science behind this, regardless of howmany news reports say that everything is anecdotal. With discovery and research into the body’s natural Endocannibinoid System (ECS) scientists have assessed how cannabis helps individuals suffering from PTSD to modulate the experience and move beyond the acute stages before their situation exacerbates. The Endocannibinoid System plays an essential role in maintaining emotional homeostasis and in regulating memory consolidation, retrieval and extension. It is a part of the body’s overall biological system, and is composed of neurotransmitters which “bind” to cannibinoid receptors. These are involved in a variety of physical processes such as appetite, pain-sensation, memory and mood. The two recognized subtypes of cannibinoid receptors are referred to as CB1 (expressed in the Central Nervous System, lungs, liver and kidneys) and CB2 (expressed in the immune system and stem cells).The ECS is part of the limbic system of the brain, located on either side of the thalamus. It supports emotion, behavior, motivation, long-term memory, and the olfactory scent.

Patients affected by PTSD do not have control over the overwhelming anxiety caused by “flashbacks” following environmental triggers associated with the original trauma. Neuroscientific investigation into cannabinoid thereapy has revealed that memory is regulated through stimulation of the CB1 receptors from the Endocannabinoid System. After introduction of ?-9-THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the CB1 receptors are stimulated, which modulates the PTSD response in the presence of a trigger, preventing memories from becoming overwhelming. It is these two major cannabinoids found in cannabis, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD), which most influence the body’s endocannabinoid system. These cannabinoids block the continuous retrieval of the traumatic event, thus reducing its associated anxiety. Many veterans use cannabis for coping purposes, especially those whose condition causes difficulties in emotional regulation or stress tolerance.

Both anecdotal and research based evidence demonstrate that cannabis has positive effects for symptoms such as night sweats, sleep disturbances, cognition and anxiety. As with synthetic pharmacological medicines, there are potential side effects from medical cannabis, ranging from feelings of paranoia and short term memory impact. Cannabis genetic profiling is allowing cannabis technicians and growers to refine and formulate new strains with differing cannabinoid profiles that do not provoke these side effects.

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