New service to help P.E.I. vets access medical marijuana

A new office is set to open in Charlottetown next month offering military veterans advice and assistance in legally obtaining medical marijauna.

'We're trying to break down the stigma. This is medicine. We need it'

Rolled, or in capsule form, medical marijuana can be prescribed by doctors for treatment of PTSD. (Brian Higgins/CBC)

A new office is set to open in Charlottetown next month offering military veterans advice and assistance in legally obtaining medical marijauna.

The office will be located in the Kirkwood Mews strip mall on University Avenue.

Dennis MacKenzie, a veteran of Canada's military mission in Afghanistan, will serve in a volunteer capacity as head of the P.E.I. branch of Marijuana for Trauma Inc., a national not-for-profit organization.

MacKenzie and other organizers held a public information session at the Best Western Hotel in Charlottetown on Wednesday.

"There was a stigma attached and we are trying to break down that stigma," said MacKenzie. "This is absolutely medication. We need it."

MacKenzie said medical marijuana is most often used by veterans to treat post traumatic stress disorder and chronic pain.

Dennis MacKenzie, who served with the Canadian military in Afghanistan, will head the P.E.I. location of Marijuana for Trauma Inc. (Brian Higgins/CBC)

'Amazing' results

The store-front office won't supply cannabis or its derivatives to veterans.

Rather, staff will help veterans obtain the necessary medical prescriptions and file the government paperwork in order to obtain marijuana legally from licensed medical producers.

I'm here to support others who can be helped.- Jim Grant, 79-year-old veteran

Jim Grant, a 79-year-old veteran of the Royal Canadian Navy, started using medical marijuana two months ago to deal with intense back pain due to arthritis.

He had been active all his life, was an avid golfer, and had never used marijuana before.

The organization arranged for Grant to be interviewed via Skype by a doctor in Ontario who wrote a prescription.

He now takes oral marijuana capsules.

"The results were absolutely amazing," said Grant. "I'm here to support others who can be helped."

Sales of clothing and donations support the not-for-profit organization. (Brian HIggins/CBC)

Counselling, yoga

The organization also arranges other types of therapy, including counselling and yoga.

Its services are tailored to military veterans, retired police officers and other first responders, but civilian members of the public are also welcomed.

The store-front office of Marijuana for Trauma is slated to open July 20.

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