Honouring the Contributions of Veterans During Time of WWII Remembrance and Reconciliation

On May 8, 1945, the Allied Forces accepted the unconditional surrender of Adolf Hitler’s Nazi armed forces, officially marking the end of Hitler’s Third Reich. In 2004, the United Nations declared May 8 and 9 annually as an International Time of Remembrance and Reconciliation for Those Who Lost Their Lives During the Second World War.

Honouring Lives Lost & Those Who Fought for Freedom

During World War II (WWII), it is estimated that a total of anywhere from 70 million to upwards of 85 million people lost their lives, whether as soldiers or civilians. Of this incomprehensible number, a total of 40 million civilians lost their lives, including the 6 million Jews that perished during the Holocaust. Over 20 million soldiers fought to their death on a global scale, among those being 45,400 Canadian soldiers, with Canada entering the war in 1939, two years before the U.S. entered after Pearl Harbor. Of the one million Canadian soldiers who served during WWII, 33,200 veterans are still alive to this day, and still bear the scars of their service to Canada and the world. We seek to honour these veterans, of WWII, and all wars that Canadians have fought in by educating veterans about medical cannabis, while helping them access high-quality cannabis at compassionate pricing.

Veterans & Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

One of the scars that soldiers in all wars have to bear is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), sometimes referred to as Post Traumatic Stress (PTS) injury. Back in WWII era, psychology, unfortunately, didn’t have the nomenclature to property term the condition that commonly affected soldiers, being referred to as “soldier’s heart” or “shell shock” or “war neurosis” until it was adequately termed as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in the 1980s. It’s estimated to have affected a minimum of 10% of Canada’s veterans over time, although this seems to be a conservative number. PTSD or PTS, according to the Canadian Mental Health Association, is a mental illness characterized by exposure to trauma and traumatic events involving death, or the threat of death, serious injury, or sexual violence. PTSD causes intrusive symptoms such as re- experiencing an event, which manifests in different ways. Many people have vivid nightmares, flashbacks, or thoughts of the event that can sometimes seemingly come out of nowhere, leading the person to avoid things that remind them of the event. With many experiencing a change in mood and losing the ability to cope, it’s common for some with PTSD to turn to drugs or alcohol. Since medical cannabis became accessible in Canada, Veterans Affairs Canada has supported Canadian veterans in acquiring medical cannabis documents and medical cannabis for PTSD. The increased global uptake on cannabis for PTSD is underscored by an evidence-based approach to how cannabis may affect those living with PTSD.

PTSD & The Endocannabinoid System (ECS)

Much of the research on PTSD and cannabis hinges on the endocannabinoid system (ECS), a whole-body system that is responsible for regulating the most important physiological processes for establishing and maintaining mammalian health. Although rather new in its discovery, the endocannabinoid system is increasing in medical sciences as an important and crucial bodily system, with endogenous cannabinoids (originating from within the body) being a regulator of the ECS. A 2009 review of the literature connecting the endocannabinoid system and mood and anxiety disorders concluded, the “growing body of evidence unequivocally demonstrates that deficits in endocannabinoid signaling may result in depressive and anxiogenic behavioral responses”. The term endocannabinoid deficiency syndrome (CEDS) was coined in 2003 by Dr. Ethan Russo and describes a lack of endocannabinoid activity in the brain. Endocannabinoid deficiency is said to be linked to medical conditions such as fibromyalgia, chronic migraines, Multiple Sclerosis (MS), seizure disorders, chronic fatigue, irritable bowel syndrome, and mood disorders, including PTSD. Stimulation of the cannabinoid receptors via phytocannabinoids (plant-based cannabinoids, most commonly derived from cannabis) are being researched for their ability to increase stress coping behaviors, including the regulation of serotonin.

Cannabis & Anadamide

Researchers are examining the connection between PTSD, cannabinoids, and anandamide (“the bliss molecule”) in the amygdala, which is the part of the brain responsible for emotions, and the controlling of aggression. They hypothesize that augmenting levels of anandamide in the amygdala modulates short-term fear extinction, resulting in long-term reduction on fear-based responses, or the natural “fight or flight” mode. The brain’s hippocampus contains a high density of CB1 receptors, which along with the CB2 is a critical component of the endocannabinoid system. Researchers are examining how THC mimics anandamide and how it binds to the cannabinoid receptors in the brain, and thus regulate mood. In the context of PTSD, a 2015 study on mice found that high levels of anandamide were catalysts for fear-reduction and mood enhancement. THC is responsible for altering normal brain signals and processes, which leads to the psychoactive effects. When THC is consumed, it increases the number of cannabinoids in the endocannabinoid system, which alters communications between neurons. Anandamide plays a role in these processes.

Cannabis & Sleep Disturbances

Many people living with PTSD live with nightmares, insomnia, and other sleep disorders, which leads to a decline in mental stability in the long-term. A 2009 study looking at synthetic cannabinoids showed that 72% of those who received the cannabinoids experienced a cessation of or noted lessening of the severity of nightmares. As such, cannabinoids are being sought out as an alternative to powerful pharmaceutical and over-the-counter medications that induce sleep.

Access to Cannabis for Veterans

In light of the research supporting cannabis for veterans and PTSD, and the leadership of Veterans Affairs Canada to cover most medical cannabis expenses for veterans, JC Green wanted to be a part of the initiatives that make access easy for this specific population. The Time of Remembrance and Reconciliation for Those Who Lost Their Lives During the Second World War, to us, is not only a time to honour and remember the past, but also honour and look towards our present, and our future by caring for those who have served. JC Green, and our medical cannabis affiliate brand JC Medicinal, serves all Canadians in the safe, convenient, and legal acquisition of medical cannabis intended to increase quality of life. For veterans, we offer compassionate pricing that makes the price of high- quality cannabis of superior genetics more affordable. Veterans are invited to connect with our affiliate medical cannabis clinic, Karthia, to be connected with a health practitioner and a Patient Services Team to explore options for medical cannabis and eligibility for compassionate pricing. More information about Karthia can be found at https://karthia.ca/, and the clinic can be accessed directly by calling 1-833-222-6777, or emailing info@karthia.ca. JC Medicinal’s superior quality products can be viewed at https://jcmedicinal.ca/products/.

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References

Dincheva, I., Drysdale, A. T., Hartley, C. A., Johnson, D. C., Jing, D., King, E. C., … & Huang, C. (2015). FAAH genetic variation enhances fronto-amygdala function in mouse and human. Nature communications, 6, 6395. Fraser, G. A. (2009). The use of a synthetic cannabinoid in the management of treatment‐resistant nightmares in posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). CNS neuroscience & therapeutics, 15(1), 84-88. Neumeister, A., Normandin, M. D., Pietrzak, R. H., Piomelli, D., Zheng, M. Q., Gujarro- Anton, A., … & Ropchan, J. (2013). Elevated brain cannabinoid CB 1 receptor availability in post-traumatic stress disorder: a positron emission tomography study. Molecular psychiatry, 18(9), 1034. Shishko, I., Oliveira, R., Moore, T. A., & Almeida, K. (2018). A review of medical marijuana for the treatment of posttraumatic stress disorder: Real symptom re-leaf or just high hopes?. Mental Health Clinician, 8(2), 86-94.