By Angela Underwood
If you ask Calum Hughes, he will tell you that a national emergency should be declared over the news that 22 veterans commit suicide each day.
The chief executive officer for the research and development company Allied Corp., Hughes knows first-hand the harm of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) after seeing his own sibling suffer.
“My brother is a 12-year national police corporal who has covered pretty serious homicide investigations and has seen some serious crimes over his career,” Hughes said.
His brother’s PTSD pushed Hughes to ponder the disorder.
“I really realized we can do something about this,” he said. And he did.
After working with physician groups and Paul Bullock, a famed Canadian WWII veteran and father to Sandra Bullock, Hughes found PTSD reached far beyond America’s borders.
“It’s not just located to one part of the world, we traveled to Columbia where this same issue is prevalent,” Hughes said.
That is why Hughes launched Allied Corp., which is expected to cultivate up to 10 million sq. ft in Colombian cannabis, producing approximately 85,000 kgs of product in 2020 and another 420,000 kgs in 2021.
“They have put themselves in risky situations for us and our country, so helping those people in return with skills, activities, and coaching to process the post-traumatic stress situation and get back to healthy living is where the passion lies,” he said.
Citing peer-reviewed medical literature and recent research, Dr. Paul Song, radiation oncologist and biotechnology chief medical officer, confirms Hughes hunch was correct.
“There is plenty of scientific rationale to why cannabis should work for PTSD,” Dr. Song said.
The Los Angeles-based doctor pointed out New York University Medical Center’s Dr. Alexander Neumeister, who studied PTSD patients.
“He looked at the level of neurotransmitters in their body, called anandamide, which is essentially the neurotransmitter that helps our bodies control stress, and is also our bodies primary endocannabinoid product,” Dr. Song said. “Many people believe that cannabis acts very similar to this in the brain.”
But not everyone has the same amount.
“Patients who have had tremendous stress, particularly veterans, and those that have witnessed really horrible and violent things of that nature, they have a reduced level of this,” Dr. Song said.
Conclusion—cannabis helps PTSD.
“When you look to where cannabis really seems to have the most proven benefit, it’s really in terms of helping with sleep, reducing anxiety, and that makes perfect sense why this would help in the PTSD community,” Dr. Song said.
Hughes said that in the military culture, the stigma of “marijuana” or “weed” must be set aside.
“The only way to break through that is through credible, ethically-sanctioned medical pharmaceutical research,” he said.
Until then, Allied Corp. has launched Tactical Relief, a hemp-derived CBD product with calming effects.
“It’s made by veterans for veterans,” Hughes said. “On the inside of every box, we have a description of a war hero and the honor and valor we want to pay to these individuals.”
However, Hughes wants to see all PTSD sufferers see relief.
“This illness can be treated, and the person can be helped back to a healthy lifestyle, and not just the person, but the rings around that person in their family, community, church, and employment,” Hughes said.
Dr. Song agrees.
“The trauma they endured was tremendous and I will say that so many of these veterans are self-medicating, whether it be with alcohol or drugs, and one thing I would say about all the self-medications, I would say cannabis is definitely the safest,” Dr. Song said.
While medical marijuana will reduce the symptoms of stress, it does not reach the root cause of the trauma, according to Dr. Song.
“You still need to solve it through counseling, psychiatric treatment, and things of that nature,” he said.
While there is no national emergency as Hughes would hope, he will be the one to make the needed noise for PTSD and Medical Marijuana.
“It is so covert, and it is not going noticed, and I am trying to raise the awareness that this is avoidable,” Hughes said. “It doesn’t have to be a life ending condition, and that is what we are trying to bring this into the awareness stage.”