Medical Marijuana for Veterans : How Pot helped Trev Bungay
Trev Bungay is a war veteran who suffered from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) for eight years after serving in the Canadian infantry for 18 years. After the war, things would get worse when he experienced severe episodes of trauma. He drank so much that he ran a daily tab of $200 . In addition to that he also drank a 40oz bottle of alcohol daily before passing out. He says he did that in order to fall asleep.
Bungay's troubles started in 2007 when he returned home from war. Things seemed different in the sense that he couldn't sleep or eat, which led him to being angry, very agitated and hyper vigilant. He was then introduced to medical cannabis by his friend and decided to give it a shot. He says it was the first time he slept through the entire night in seven years.
Even after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that cannabis would soon be legal in Canada. It still carries a social stigma. Personal experiences of patients such as Bungay show us that medical cannabis is actually very beneficial.
Scientific studies conducted by a team of doctors in Colorado in 2017 show that medical cannabis is not only beneficial to people suffering from PTSD like Bungay, but also helps with various other mental disorders and diseases such as epilepsy, Alzheimer's, inflammatory bowel disease, multiple sclerosis, insomnia and more. Even in the case of respiratory diseases, such as asthma, it may seem contradictory because smoking is not healthy for your lungs. However, recent studies have shown that cannabis is not only much less harmful to your lungs than cigarettes, but it also has a dilating effect on the human respiratory system which helps us breathe more easily.
Wounded Warriors Canada (WWC) have helped over 6,000 patients in the last three years using medical cannabis. They have helped numerous patients with insomnia, Crohn's and Colitis, cancer, eating disorders, chronic pain, PTSD, depression, fibromyalgia and many more. According to Statistics Canada, approximately one of five Canadians suffer from mental illnesses.
Health Canada says that there are over 200,000 Canadians who were registered for the use of medical cannabis in the summer of 2017. This is an increase of more than 150,000 Canadians since the summer of 2015.
Bungay says that he initially used cannabis as a tool to go to sleep, but later he realized that it was making him calmer and prevented hyperventilation and anxiety. It allowed him to leave the house and start taking regular therapy sessions. It also made him hungrier than before.
Experts in the field of cannabis say the substance interacts differently for every individual, but in his case it helped him tremendously.
"I had thought in my mind, that I was no longer of use to anyone and if I could end it all, the pain would be gone, everyone would be better off," says Bungay
"I attempted suicide twice within a year. Literally the only thing that kept me alive was my 4 year old boy Aiden and a couple incidents that happened. I lost 15 friends to suicide and one wake in particular, I watched his son crying on his casket. He was in so much pain. I promised myself that I would not do that to my son. Today cannabis is my healer.”
When Bungay uses pot he doesn’t have nightmares, flashbacks and is able to sleep through the night again. “I am able to get out of bed, workout, play hockey, be around people, speak at conferences because of cannabis.
"I don't get angry or depressed and if I feel it coming I take cannabis and it is gone," he said, "The cannabis oil is an amazing tool for this, as its clean, doesn't smell which helps us reduce the stigma."
Bungay also added that he's okay with people stigmatizing cannabis use.
"I'm okay with people not wanting to use cannabis. It’s completely up to anyone, that's why I fought for my country, so you had the right to choose. What I don't like is those who portray cannabis as an illegal, bad drug because they are uneducated on the subject. This drug works very well for 99% of people, and if you don't have the knowledge to speak about it, or you haven't researched it for yourself then you have no opinion," he says.
Bungay says he believes that ending the stigma will save more lives on this planet than any pill produced by a pharmaceutical company.
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