Local veterans launch cannabis business to fight post-traumatic stress disorder – NBC 7 San Diego
A group of local veterans are trying to raise awareness about mental health with the help of cannabis. The Marines founded Helmand Valley Growing Company after feeling the effects of post-traumatic stress disorder. The veteran-owned brand of cannabis is sold in dozens of dispensaries across California, and all proceeds go to veteran medical cannabis research.
“You have a lot of great men and women who have come forward to fight for us and now they have come back and physically they are back here, but spiritually they are not. We want to be that beacon to help them live that American dream they fought for, ”said Bryan Buckley, President and CEO of HVGC.
Buckley founded the company with two other Marines. Former Special Operations Marines are Afghanistan veterans who returned home with physical and emotional wounds.
“Getting rid of opioids has been a revelation. Stop the Jack Daniels bottle one night. Cannabis was in between to help me get off, ”said Andy Meyers, director of culture at HVGC.
HVGC sells cartridges that can be used with vaping devices. Cannabis sales are intended for their non-profit organization, Battle Brothers Foundation. The aim is to fund research on the effects of cannabis on post-traumatic stress. Due to federal laws banning cannabis, the Veterans Administration has not approved its use.
“That’s when we had the opportunity to talk to members of Congress and say what we need to do to integrate medical cannabis into the VA system. They said if you could get the data and the doctors you would have a good point, ”Buckley said.
Now, HVGC is working with an Israeli lab, NiaMedic Healthcare and UC Irvine on a study this summer involving veterans.
“It hurts. I have a lot of friends who have come back and who weren’t physically injured, but who didn’t come back mentally. They left their souls in the valley,” Meyers said.
With their fellow veterans as motivation, the Marine Raiders use cannabis to hopefully help with the trauma veterans and civilians now face.