Cannabis for Veterans and PTSD: A Conversation With Balanced Veterans

Did you know that Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is a qualifying condition for medical cannabis in every single state which has a medical program? The US is a patchwork of cannabis legislation but on this subject, individual states stand united. People experiencing Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) can benefit from medical cannabis. It’s as simple as that.

Leafwell has partnered with The Balanced Veterans Network , a non-profit which offers a community platform for veterans, their families, and supporters centered on their mental wellness. We spoke with Ron Millward, founder of The Balanced Veterans Network, to discuss his own experiences and why he is passionate about not only mental health and wellness for veterans but also how he believes medical cannabis can play an important part.

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Meet Ron Millward, Founder of Balanced Veterans

Ron Millward is a mental wellness advocate and a self-described ‘hope dealer’. Because that’s exactly what his Balanced Veterans community is designed to offer: hope. Ron also struggles with PTSD and other complex trauma stemming from his years serving in the United States Armed Forces.

As a combat veteran, Ron is not alone in having been diagnosed with PTSD. And he knows first hand how challenging it can be to return to life as a civilian, particularly with complex trauma. Ron left armed service in 2014 and since then:

“I decided to advocate for my health and take my life back. I leaned into a holistic approach to my health and living and using cannabis and other plants was the catalyst for improving my life and helping me find balance.”

Living in Pennsylvania, Ron is a medical card holder (qualifying as a result of his PTSD diagnosis). However, Ron believes that all cannabis use is medical use, thanks to the range of medicinal benefits which can be achieved by anyone, cardholder or otherwise. This leads into his passionate belief that no one should be imprisoned for cannabis use and there should be better and more equal access for all people.

“Cannabis is an incredible tool that has radically changed my life. A healthy relationship with the plant and education is crucial. The moment we start using the plant, we have an obligation to respect and represent our use well to deconstruct the lies and stigma that has been built. The more education, the more people are able to access and find freedom.”

Ron Balanced Veteran's Network
Ron Millward. Image courtesy of Balanced Veteran’s Network

What is Balanced Veterans?

The Balanced Veterans Network is a digital platform and community where veterans, their families, and supporters can connect around all things unique to our community and learn to incorporate tools to improve their health. Balanced Veterans launches a new platform on April 20th (see what they did there?) which will offer a range of free online courses aimed at veterans, seeking to find that balance.

The word ‘balance’ is key here. This concept of achieving his own balance in life directly informed Ron’s decision to found Balanced Veterans. The platform is designed to create a community space where combat veterans can recalibrate and find a sense of balance and peace in their day to day lives. Ron wants to:

“Educate and inspire other veterans to take control of their lives, advocate for their health and seek alternative treatments on their journey to find mental and physical freedom.”

How Can Medical Cannabis Help Veterans with PTSD?

As mentioned, PTSD is a qualifying condition in all medical marijuana programs. This is because the benefits of medical cannabis directly relate to some symptoms of PTSD. Of course, everyone experiences PTSD differently, but for Ron, cannabis was valuable in improving his PTSD symptoms in the following areas:

  • Physical pain
  • Sleep
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Social interactions

Chronic pain is a common qualifying condition, and veterans often suffer ongoing (chronic) pain from injuries sustained during combat. Cannabis is both an anti-inflammatory and natural painkiller and can offer fast, effective relief, without resorting to addictive, prescription pain medications.

Many people suffering from insomnia see improvements in not only being able to fall asleep but sleeping for longer periods of time, particularly when using CBD products.

Feelings of anxiety and depression, including feelings of anxiety linked to social interactions, can be soothed with medical cannabis, again, often with products with a higher CBD ratio.

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Ron’s Cannabis Recommendations for PTSD

On a personal note, we asked Ron for his recommendations and preferences when it comes to using cannabis. There are so many ways to consume cannabis, so it’s always interesting to hear how people choose to consume their product. Ron likes to consume flower in hemp paper or use concentrates. When it comes to his favorite brands, Ron is a big fan of Kind Tree for their affordable medicine and veteran discount, also GTI and Grassroots for his flower. He also enjoys Prime Wellness Rhythm, and Cresco for concentrates.

With regards to cannabinoids, Ron understands that products with a wide range of cannabinoids allows you to take full advantage of the entourage effect. He uses products containing THC, CBD, THCA, CBDA, CBG, CBC and CBN. When it comes to terpenes, Ron seeks out myrcene, limonene, linalool and terpineol.

Finally, Ron will choose a dosage based on his needs at any given time. That’s what it means to be a balanced veteran, after all! He’ll opt for THC-rich or CBD-rich products, and, of course, the ever popular equal THC:CBD 1:1 ratio.

Ron explains that dosing “is really intricate. I also went Vegetarian, so I am really aware of any sort of stimulation in my body. I rely on terpene profiles to help me get through my day and stay sharp. It’s important to incorporate CBD into my regiment for body pain and overall mental clarity during the day. At night I rely on heavier, more indica dominant strains.”

Balanced Veterans Network
Image courtesy of Balanced Veterans Network

We hope you enjoyed learning a little more about Ron and the Balanced Veterans. Remember to check out their platform and enroll in some of their classes.

You can follow Balanced Veterans and Ron Millward on Instagram. And check out Leafwell while you’re there!

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Written by
Sarah Locklund
Sarah Locklund

Sarah is a cannabis professional that has worked in multiple areas of the industry for the past several years. She found her niche when she went to Philadelphia at the beginning of 2018 to work as a community educator and partnership manager for a multi-state dispensary group. Sarah has spent countless hours educating individuals on the medicinal value of cannabis and assisting patients in the process of gaining legal access. Sarah’s goal is to bring accurate cannabis information and useful resources to as many people as possible, and she is thrilled to work with a company that does exactly that.

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