Although veterans only make up 7% of the U.S. population, they account for 20% of the national suicide rate. An estimated 22 veterans commit suicide every day. To help combat this appalling statistic, California-based Weed for Warriors Project has stepped up to help veterans switch from addictive pharmaceutical drugs to medical marijuana. The program provides veterans with information, a safe place to connect with fellow veterans, and safe access to free medical marijuana treatments.
Weed for Warriors was started in the San Francisco Bay Area by a Marine Corps veteran who discovered that medical marijuana helped treat his service-connected disabilities. The program works by sourcing marijuana donations from local cannabis growers, as cannabis is a proven treatment for PTSD, chronic pain, sleep disorders, addiction withdrawal, and other issues that veterans are commonly diagnosed with. Medical marijuana also has fewer negative side effects and none of the addictive risk that traditional pharmaceutical drugs pose.
“We might not have been with them in the time they were in war, but we know what they’ve been through and understand there is more to what’s out there,” said Coast Guard veteran and Weed for Warriors member Jean Marvel. “We want to help them medicate and function on a daily basis without having to take these pharmaceuticals.”
Iraq War veteran Art Gutierrez was introduced to the program in San Jose, and credits the program with preventing him from taking his own life. “I chose not to use pharmaceuticals,” he said. “There was a relief that came from cannabis, a spiritual relief that happened over time. The spiritual relief and all that happened as my body and my mind started to clear up. I, as a person, became happier and became passionate about life again.”