U.S. Veteran & Founder of Veterans Ending the Stigma
In this episode of CannaConversations, Danielle talks to Robert Kowalski – a Veteran of the United States Air Force. Following Robert’s two tours of duty, he found himself combating symptoms of PTSD in a system that was not really equipped to handle that type of diagnosis. He was put on a slew of prescription medications that ultimately created more issues for him. After about 3-6 months in this process, Robert made the decision to take leave from the military and try cannabis as medicine – once he discovered the relief, he made the conscious decision that he couldn’t go back to what the VA hospital wanted him to be doing.
Upon returning to work with the military, Robert tested positive for THC – which brought down the full hammer that resulted in him losing his rank, pay, and his education benefits – all because of a positive THC test. He fought back and provided evidence he had collected through his journey and was able to get a general discharge, but because it was “drug related” he wasn’t able to complete his whole 6 years of service or participate in the reserves.
Robert shares his journey of discovering how cannabis helped him with his PTSD but ended his military career, and how he ended up getting a job at a cultivating facility that allowed him to work for his medicine. He goes on to share how he was able to then take his experience and new found knowledge to help his grandmother through her end-of-life journey by providing her relief with cannabis edibles.
After the experience as a patient himself and helping his grandmother (and his entire family, really), Robert felt called to continue to help others. In addition to participating on various panels to help shape policy and program changes, he started an organization called Veterans Ending The Stigma, where he works with men and women who have served in the military, who are plagued by disabling psychological and physiological afflictions to help end the stigma.
Veterans Ending The Stigma’s Mission Statement: “By means of constructive dialogue, anecdotal reason, and novel erudition, Veterans Ending The Stigma aspires to end all stigma associated with veterans, namely perceptions about mental illness, homelessness, and the use of medical cannabis to treat conditions such as Post Traumatic Stress, Traumatic Brain Injury, and Chronic Pain. Through Education, Camaraderie, and Community Outreach, We can end the stigma placed upon our veterans.”
OHIO VETERANS: If you are a patient in the Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program and are a Veteran, please check out this link to find out how you can qualify for a Veteran’s discount on your registry fees and in the dispensary!
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