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Welcome to our final 2021 edition of Cannabis Patient Care. We are closing out this year with our annual issue focused on veterans. Veterans play a special role in our society—sacrificing their safety, time, and often mental health to keep our country safe. We owe them more than a debt of gratitude and I think that point was made extremely well by Cherissa Jackson in the "Advocate Focus" piece on page 24. She suggested that we all say more than thank you to our veterans and instead ask what we can do for them. How can we help? The veterans in my life are very tough people who are reluctant to ask for help, but moving forward I will try to keep Jackson’s thought in mind and go beyond a thank you with as many veterans as I can—starting with this very issue of Cannabis Patient Care!
In our first article, Ruth Fisher takes a deep dive into the current state of research surrounding medical cannabis as a treatment for PTSD. There are some promising studies out there, but it’s clear that there is more for researchers to uncover. We also spoke with Dr. Peter Grinspoon about the patients he has treated and the overall state of medical cannabis education for doctors. Next, David Hodes shares the powerful stories of four veterans who turned their personal experiences with medical cannabis into advocacy work for other veterans. As I mentioned above, we also spoke with Cherissa Jackson, RN, who is the Chief Medical Executive of American Veterans (AMVETS). Jackson offers amazing insight as a medical professional, female veteran, PTSD survivor, and advocate for veteran access to medical cannabis.
Veterans helping other veterans is a common theme in this issue. We have several great interviews with veterans who took their own experiences and turned it into a way to give back to their brothers and sisters in arms. Our featured interviews include: Bryan Buckley, the president and CEO of Helmand Valley Growers Company (HVGC) who shares his company's mission to assist veterans; Americans for Safe Access highlights the work of Doug Distasio and Todd Scattini; and our caregiver article focuses on Jason Hanley, the owner of CARE Waialua in Hawaii. Elisabeth Mack, RN, is featured in our “Nurse Focus” article where she shares her personal experience as well as patient stories. Mack also discusses her high hopes for the role nurses can play in medical cannabis education and
Finally, we highlight an amazing organization The Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) on page 36. TAPS was recommended to us as an organization we could donate to when we launched this publication in November 2020 and we continue to honor and respect that suggestion by highlighting their important work here in our annual veterans issue. Please take a moment to read their interview and donate to their cause if you're able to.
My favorite aspect of putting this annual issue together is highlighting all of these amazing people doing their best every day to make a difference in the lives of veterans. They are all an inspiration to me and I truly hope our readers take the time to go through these articles and even reach out to some of these folks for more information or assistance, if need be. So, taking Cherissa Jackson’s advice to heart, I would like to close this letter by saying: Thank you to all of our veterans and please let me know what I can do for you—big or small, day or night—I am here and willing to help in any way I can. You can reach me by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone at (908) 391-5868.