Greg is a father, veteran and patient at High Mountain Health. After being deployed to Iraq in 2003 and 2005, Greg was diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder upon returning home. He describes the period of time after returning from combat as “self-destructive” and found himself being prescribed a combination of seven different drugs to combat anxiety, depression and bodily pain. After finding medical cannabis, particularly concentrates, Greg was able to alleviate many of his ailments. Today, the only pharmaceutical that Greg takes is vitamin D and he is looking forward to becoming a dad for the second time.
HMH: What first brought your attention to medical cannabis?
Greg: I was going to college in California when I got out of the Marine Corps and another veteran recommended medical cannabis to me. He was going through a lot of the same issues that I was at the time and encouraged me to at least try it.
HMH: Do you have a favorite strain and how does it help with your ailments?
Greg: I don’t have a particular strain that I stick to, but I use indica-dominant strains at night and sativa-dominant strains during the day.
Medical cannabis has given me a better quality of life. Before I was medicated, I would wake up every 2 hours through the night. That itself has secondary effects. I had panic attacks that would be stopped by using cannabis. I messed up my knee, back, shoulder and neck; cannabis helps with pain associated with those things.
Through the VA I found myself taking a lot of painkillers. Eventually I was taking many different drugs that all came with their own side-effects. I got to the point where I was passing out and having seizures; they’re not really sure why but something wasn’t right. After a particularly bad episode, I said that was enough.
With the anxiety and depression comes a lack of appetite. When I would go through stressful situations I would lose of lot of weight. Cannabis helps with appetite stimulation and maintaining my weight.
HMH: What would you tell someone who is interested in using medical cannabis?
Greg: Don’t always follow popular opinion. Especially with my experience, it was one medication to another and one side-effect to another. If you feel like it’s the right thing for you, then it’s worth a shot.
HMH: What are some things that you have learned along your journey?
Greg: Coming from a military background, I definitely noticed a stigma towards cannabis though I do think that things are changing quickly. Look how far Arizona has come in just the past couple of years. I think the stigma will lessen over time. There is a large group of Americans who could benefit from medical cannabis.