After serving 25 years in the military, 64-year-old David Bass returned home to Fort Worth in 2006, but still felt like he was fighting in Desert Storm. Bass would have vivid nightmares almost every night for six years about being back on the battlefield. He said, “I still have the sensation that I’m in Iraq. I can hear Iraq, I can smell Irag, I can hear rockets going off.” Bass was prescribed many different kinds of medications to ease his hypervigilance after being diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.
However, those medications didn’t help him sleep any better, only causing him to have “flat emotions,” and eventually, suicidal thoughts. It wasn’t until he experimented with cannabis that he was able to put his mind at ease and get a good night’s rest. Unfortunately, since the state’s medical marijuana program is restricted to those with ailments such as neurological disorders and terminal cancer, Bass had to get his medicine illegally for years. Starting on September 1, however, the Texas Compassionate Use Program will expand to include people with PTSD and cancer of all stages, allowing them to use “low-THC cannabis.”
There are a ton of ways for tetrahydrocannabinol or THC to be consumed, whether it’s eating edibles, vaporized, swallowing capsules and oils. All but smoking are permitted for people who are participating in the program. According to Dr. Muhammad Assad, marijuana, “Decreases the hyperarousal and hypervigilance of veterans.” He continued, “Because they’re coming from a traumatic situation, they get very vigilant, they get very aroused, and they’re always ready for challenges.”
So the medical marijuana calms them down. It also decreases nightmares.” For cancer patients, THC mainly alleviates the side effects of chemotherapy, such as nausea, loss of appetite, and body pains. Starting in September, Bass said he and other veterans are going to try the oils and edibles through the program for about 90 days to see if they work the same as smoking. He said, “We’re eager to try this medication to see if it works.”
Bass was a communications officer in Iraq and said the building he worked in was the target of the country’s insurgents at the time. Explosives were thrown unpredictably above and around him for a year, causing him to have “dreams that I was under attack right here in my house.” The new Texas law will not only expand the state’s cannabis program but double the percent of THC allowed in products to 1%. Although the new law is still very narrow it’s great that veterans and cancer patients can enjoy the benefits of cannabis.