Marijuana. For many, this drug is still a taboo topic but for those who can look past the stigma have found not only much needed relief for multiple illnesses but also a brotherhood with the cannabis consulting service Marijuana for Trauma (MFT).
Marijuana has traditionally been used for medicinal purposes since ancient times. Though modern day uses for the plant vary, it has been used to treat certain illnesses such as PTSD, depression, chronic pain, arthritis and more.
“There’s no fine print that says ‘may cause thoughts of suicide.’ It enables you to actually feel again, and you’re able to control your symptoms. If you’re starting to feel anxious, you’re able to control it on the spot,” explained Chris Dupee president for the Ontario branch of MFT.
MFT primarily attracts veterans and first responders, but civilians are also welcome. The company is set up to assess patients who have already been diagnosed with illnesses such as depression, PTSD and anxiety. Once the initial paperwork checks out, the patients are referred to a doctor working with MFT, who judges each patient on a case-by-case basis. Not everyone leaves with a prescription. Patients who do get the green light are supplied with an appropriate dose and strain.
MFT also houses dieticians and strain consultants or “cannabis coaches” who teach patients how to use the plant and which strain suits their needs best. Patients have follow-ups with their doctors every three months. The whole process is “treated with respect” as Dupee puts it.
Marijuana can be smoked, cooked or used as a pill. The medication does not make the user high.
The Ontario branch of MFT, located in Markham opened up in June of this year and according to Dupee, they’ve treated hundreds of patients, mostly veterans. They’ve received positive feedback from patients.
Dupee says MFT is more than just prescribing cannabis, the company also offers peer support groups and helps veterans with filling out Veterans Affairs paperwork. Some patients that come to MFT don’t even prescribe to the marijuana and are just looking for the peer support.
“It’s not just about the marijuana it’s recreating a brotherhood outside of the military. That’s what we do, the marijuana is just a small part,” said Dupee.
MFT was founded in 2013 by Fabian Henry, a combat engineer in the CAF suffering from PTSD. After trying regular medication, he stumbled upon marijuana, and it helped him so much he decided to spread the word.
Not long after MFT opened its first branch in Gagetown, N.B., Dupee, also a veteran who retired in 2014, decided give medicinal marijuana a shot. Since there was no location in Ontario, he was forced to drive to Gagetown where he suggested to Henry that there was a need for an MFT branch in Ontario.
Dupee admits that there is still a certain amount of stigma attached with the use of marijuana, but MFT is trying to combat it.
“Have an open mind, it’s working. We’re professionals, we have doctors, we have lawyers. We’re trying so hard to steer away from the stigma of it all, but there’s always going to be a divide when it comes to something so controversial,” said Dupee.
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