Edmonton business helps veterans get prescription marijuana

Marijuana on a scale
There are new guidelines to help Canadians use marijuana more safely. Matthew Usherwood / The Canadian Press

Marijuana legalization is scheduled to come next summer and one business in Edmonton that helps veterans and first responders get cannabinoid therapy is getting ready.

Timothy Baxter, an Afghanistan war veteran and the clinic manager of Marijuana for Trauma Edmonton, says marijuana is often the best treatment for non-physical injuries for vets.

READ MORE: Marijuana for Trauma opens in Edmonton to treat PTSD in military vets 

He says legalization will help those who have no prescription.

“The pharmaceutical industry and how they administer to veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder is backwards in my opinion,” Baxter explained.

“It is not helpful. There is really no single pharmaceutical drug or a combination cocktail of pharmaceutical drugs that helps as much as marijuana does.”

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The company was founded by Fabian Henry and Mike Southwell, a pair of Afghanistan war veterans, and opened its first location in New Brunswick.

READ MORE: Medical marijuana company opening Edmonton wellness centre

Baxter explained that marijuana has few side effects and is able to treat a huge range of conditions.

“Some of the most common ones are post-traumatic stress, as well as chronic pain, degenerative disc disease is a common one and there is really very few medications that can treat those conditions as effectively as medical marijuana.

“I can’t tell you how many people who have come in here, veterans and civilians, with a whole host of prescription pills, empty bottles they’ve been using, and they tell us since they’ve made the switch to cannabis, they only need that one medication to treat so many different symptoms,” Baxter said.

READ MORE: Alberta producer launches medical marijuana app 

He added the facility offers a processing room to make edibles, therapy sessions, cooking classes, art classes/therapy music lessons/therapy and support groups.

The facility offers clients a natural health/detoxification expert, a strain consultant, a compassionate care registration team and many other services to help with cannabinoid therapy.

Baxter explained right now there are likely many users of marijuana who are using it for its medicinal benefits but cannot get a prescription but Marijuana for Trauma hopes to help them with that.

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He says around three per cent of any sample-size population has some sort of condition that has them on a prescription or an over-the-counter drug that could be replaced by marijuana.

READ MORE: Premiers fear ‘patchwork’ marijuana legalization 

When talking about legalization, Baxter thinks a sin tax should be added to recreational marijuana, as it is with tobacco and alcohol products, but should not be added to medicinal products.

He thinks producers should help fund patient care, which would help fund education and health centres.

“That way, we would avoid having the taxpayer pick up the cost for patient support, as well as the education centres the government keeps saying they will be funding,” Baxter said.

Marijuana is set to be legalized nationwide July 1, 2018.