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‘A high state of distress’: Veterans in N.L. fear stricter medical marijuana limits

NEW | 'A high state of distress': Veterans in N.L. fear stricter medical marijuana limits

  • ‘A high state of distress’: Veterans in N.L. fear stricter medical marijuana limits
  • Edwards said that while 10 grams of marijuana coverage may seem large to people who don’t rely on medical marijuana, it’s really quite normal.
  • Veterans Affairs Minister Kent Hehr is scaling back the amount of medical marijuana that will be covered by his department.
  • As President of Marijuana for Trauma in N.L., Edwards helps veterans learn about the benefits of marijuana to treat PTSD and teaches them how to file the proper paperwork to qualify for coverage.
  • The type of use is typical for the veterans who come to Marijuana for Trauma, said Edwards, and he worries that if the dosage is lowered, more veterans might rely more on prescription drugs.

The head of the provincial chapter of Marijuana for Trauma says new federal regulations to scale back marijuana coverage for veterans are a bad idea.

@CBCNL: NEW | ‘A high state of distress’: Veterans in N.L. fear stricter medical marijuana limits

The head of the Newfoundland and Labrador chapter of Marijuana for Trauma says new federal regulations announced  to scale back marijuana coverage for veterans are a bad idea.

Ryan Edwards told CBC Radio’s St. John’s Morning Show on Friday that the federal government’s plan to scale back the reimbursement limit for medical marijuana from 10 grams a day to three in May 2017 is short-sighted.

As President of Marijuana for Trauma in N.L., Edwards helps veterans learn about the benefits of marijuana to treat PTSD and teaches them how to file the proper paperwork to qualify for coverage. 

‘They’re not stoned, they’re medicated.’ – Ryan Edwards

He spent nearly 14 years in the Canadian Forces, was diagnosed with PTSD,  and retired from the military in 2009.

“A lot of clients right now are in a high state of distress, they’re worried about how they’re going to function with the lower dosage,” said Edwards.

“They need that every single day to function, just to go to the grocery store, just to go to the post office, to spend time with their children.”

“They’re not stoned, they’re medicated.”

Edwards said that while 10 grams of marijuana coverage may seem large to people who don’t rely on medical marijuana, it’s really quite normal.

“There’s a thing called functional dose that you have to reach and smoking one gram, two grams a day is not going to get you your functional dose, you’re going to remain being stoned. You’re not going to properly medicate,” he said.

“The higher the dose, the more cannabinoids are in your body, the more even you feel.”

Edwards said medical marijuana use helped him escape the throes of prescription drugs.

“I was taking 15 different pharmaceuticals every single day for about five years.”

“Side effects keep compounding and you’re essentially just a walking zombie.”

That type of use is typical for the veterans who come to Marijuana for Trauma, said Edwards, and he worries that if the dosage is lowered, more veterans might rely more on prescription drugs.

But his group of marijuana advocates isn’t planning to accept the new regulations without protest. 

”They don’t want us to live a long prosperous life, they want to cut off our benefits at any given point, they want to get you back to the workforce right away and they don’t want to really support us.’ – Ryan Edwards

He said Marijuana for Trauma founder Fabian Henry is planning a march from Oromocto, N.B. to Parliament Hill in May, and plans to make it the largest peer-supported rally in Canada’s history.

There’s also talk of a constitutional challenge, said Edwards.

He said the decision to cut the limit of reimbursable marijuana coverage for veterans is just another sign of the federal government’s mistreatment of veterans.

“The government of Canada would save money with all veterans being deceased,” said Edwards.

“They don’t want us to live a long prosperous life, they want to cut off our benefits at any given point, they want to get you back to the workforce right away and they don’t want to really support us.”

‘A high state of distress’: Veterans in N.L. fear stricter medical marijuana limits

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