After devoting himself to his 18-year military career, which included leading three combat missions in Afghanistan, Trev was faced with his toughest battle yet – a battle with PTSD. His family fell apart and he lost 15 of his fellow soldiers, all close friends, to suicide. He tried to “fix” his PTSD with prescription drugs and a persistence to power through, and eventually attempted suicide two times himself before realizing that he needed to resign from the military, and find a way to improve his health.
Getting out of the military is not like leaving any other job. Because it’s more than a job. It’s how you eat and dress and talk and sleep. You are leaving a life, and in Trev’s case, this was the only adult life that he had ever known.
The bravery to leave the military often takes more than joining in the first place. There is bewilderment and uncertainty as you learn to navigate the civilian world. Transitioning is disorienting and nerve-wracking. When you’re “in” there are no decisions to be made regarding the everyday matters that non-military private citizens encounter. After leaving the military, suddenly there are bills to pay, children to care for and a civilian medical system to deal with. Not to mention the labyrinth that is Veterans Affairs. Those who have not experienced it cannot understand the heavy burden of learning to unlearn all you’ve known – and to navigate in a culture in which you are, in effect, an outsider.
But Trev knew he was ready to leave the military, and he was also ready to search for other ways of relieving his pain. The pharmaceuticals Trev was prescribed were not working. He began researching other avenues for PTSD treatment. At one point, a buddy gave him some cannabis and told him it would help him sleep.
Taking pot? Trev was sceptical. Could something “natural” really work? Yet, incredibly, for the first time in several years he could sleep through the night – this was akin to a miracle in his eyes. Previously he had been trying to numb his pain and find relief through alcohol. He did some research and realized the alcohol he had been medicating with was only pouring a depressant on his already depressed mind. Yet alcohol is condoned, practically a social requirement, especially in the military. Cannabis was not on his radar. That was all about to change.
Through his research, Trev discovered that clinical researchers and health care professionals have advocated for medicinal cannabis to be used as a therapeutic treatment for a wide variety of health concerns, particularly chronic pain, anxiety, PTSD and substance abuse disorders. The British Journal of Pharmacology suggests that cannabidiol (CBD), the major non-psychoactive component of cannabis, interacts with learning and memory processes in such a way that it offers relief of the symptoms experienced by those who suffer from the distress of PTSD. The fact that upon trying cannabis Trev felt a sense of relief from some of his symptoms was not a fluke. It was science.
When Trev started a new treatment plan that included dry cannabis for PTSD and chronic pain, it was a game changer. He was able to wean himself off all the pills he had been prescribed previously. The cannabis took him from a life of ruin and possible suicide and started him on a path that gave him hope. Eventually, with the right wellness plan, he was able to get his life back. He began to feel as if he had the strength to function in society again. He felt he had found the answer, and didn’t think there was anything better until he used cannabis oil. Under this form of therapy, he found even more relief from his pain and anxiety. And it had the added bonus of lowering the stigma involved with smoking it and of the tell-tale distinctive odor. It was easy to use (just a few drops under his tongue or in his food) and, as it was in its concentrated form, he used less of it.
For Trev, cannabis oil changed everything. He uses the CBD form throughout the day, as it helps control his pain while also allowing him to work. He takes the THC form in the evening, which has allowed him to gain 6-8 hours of sleep with little to no flashbacks and nightmares. He truly never thought he could function in society, have a family and live a normal life, but here he is, and he is forever grateful. Too grateful to not share his story of healing.
Trev reached a place where he knew he wanted to inform others of the life-saving benefits of medical cannabis. He threw himself into helping others, researching and spreading the word about the relief he found. He sought out like-minded people. He began a business plan. Trev started sharing his own story of pain in order to heal others – and in the process, has continued healing himself.