While legal Cannabis is the rule of law in many states, that it is still illegal at the Federal level remains an issue for many Carers.
We know two things of marijuana that do harm, which is a provision contrary to the Hippocratic Oath. First, Cannabis smoke contains toxic carbon monoxide, as does all smoke. Next, Cannabis exacerbates paranoia. These two deadly factors for Veterans compel me as a Carer to focus on education rather than legalism.
In states where Cannabis is legal, Law Enforcement has a variety of challenges that do not exist in governing alcohol, tobacco, and firearms. Namely, operating moving vehicles while high on marijuana is difficult to determine and correct. Next, far from the mindful Vietnam Veterans who preferred smoking a joint at night to popping pills after the day’s work was done, today’s Veteran is inundated with a Cannabis culture that ignores healthy options to huffing down bong smoke. Here are some Caregiver Alternatives to Cannabis:
1. Field strip your brain. Don’t try this at home without talking to a professional first. Get to the core of what thoughts disturb you, what triggers set off a manic episode or a clinical depression. I far prefer therapy to psychotropic drugs, but you may need something besides Cannabis to pull you out of a mental health crisis.
2. Audit what you eat and drink. If you are in pain all the time, consider improving your diet on a grocery store budget. Many Veterans reading this blog may not have access to Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods. You can eat whole grains, locally harvested meats, fresh fruits and vegetables from your local grocer. Limit alcohol and caffeine use.
3. Be a mindful smoker of tobacco, then make a plan to quit. Nothing insults a Veteran more than hearing how tobacco kills. So do IEDs, but most civilians don’t know about the dangers Veterans have faced that seem miniscule compared to a little smoke. If we had as much education about how war kills worse than tobacco, perhaps we would have less of both.
Remember Geronimo himself was known to sit down in live actions with bullets flying past his head to enjoy the calming effects of tobacco smoke. His remains a good idea. Remember that the Breath of the Invisible is a spiritual communion that can be achieved through yoga and not only tobacco.
It is hypocritical of Washington State to make cigarettes so spendy through taxation, while legal weed is almost cheaper per gram than a pack of Camels. It is wrong of South Carolina to jail non-violent pot smoker Veterans while offering them a pack of Camels for less than five bucks. The Great States of Washington and South Carolina remain a focus of our study to improve Veterans’ lives. When we admit that tobacco was considered a spirit by Geronimo before it was considered a consumer product of great legalism and debate, then we will come a longer way to smoke in mindful fashion before developing a plan to quit.
4. Go for a walk. Get some fresh air. Go play with a skinny Black Dog. Dance. Listen to music.
5. Fall in love. If you prefer pot to people, then you are with the wrong people. Find new playgrounds and new playmates as Narcotics Anonymous says.
6. Don’t judge yourself if you can’t quit smoking pot right away. Just reduce your consumption, and see if you don’t experience greater clarity and lung capacity. I am not judging you for smoking pot, and I am not telling you that it’s all bad. However, I will never tell you that it’s all good either. I have seen Cannabis devastate lives, my own included, even though I still support its legalization at a Federal level.
7. Consider checking out a Veteran group, even if organized group activities are like pulling hen’s teeth for you. It is good to try socializing even if you tend to be a Lone Wolf, but don’t go past your boundaries. Check out www.iava.org. Iraq Afghanistan Veterans of America may be more pertinent to young Veterans than the VFW and American Legion, for whom interdependence may be better achieved remotely through apps rather than live social interaction.
8. Limit social interaction from people who make demands on you for Cannabis. It is sad to say that every pot smoker is not responsible. If most of your social interaction comes from people who drop by to smoke pot that you procured, then considered limiting your social circle to exclude users. Not only will this save you money, but it will save you grief. Users can be losers, and remember what President Thomas Jefferson meant when he said, “Be polite to all, but intimate with few.”
9. Learn a new skill or hobby. Use your GI Bill to go back to school, anywhere from a Vocational/Technical school, Community College, or University.
10. Believe in yourself. Believe in health as your greatest wealth. Never give up. Never forget that from this keyboard comes a lot of love for your duty, your sacrifice, and your honor. Contact me if you have any questions or just need some warm care. Thank you for your service. Thanks for listening.