SPECIAL VETERAN’S DAY REPORT – Stress may feel like it is a normal state – until it’s not, according to psychologists who are concerned that many American households are nearing a critical tipping point in regard to positive mental health.
The collision of three national crises — the pandemic, economic turmoil, and elevated community conflicts — are taking a toll, according to Arthur Evans Jr., the CEO of the American Psychological Association, which recently released the findings of two critical mental health surveys.
A number of America’s small-business owners are stepping in and stepping up to help, including Receptra Naturals, which produces premium organic CBD from its family-owned farm in Colorado.
Although Receptra has offered a military discount program since its formation in 2015, its owner and chairman Rusty Scott recently elevated its military discount rate to 50%, as well as an additional campaign that donates 10% of Veterans sales in November to the Wounded Warriors Family Fund.
“There was no question among our team. We had to do something more,” says Receptra Naturals CMO Shane Vaughan, who notes the move was a natural one for the organization staffed by a group of givers.
Giving is a common thread that binds the CBD community together in their commitment to the common good.
“The American public has endured one devastating blow after another, the long-term effects of which many people will struggle with for years to come,” says Evans.
Stress is something the majority of U.S. households could use less of these days, particularly the more than eight in 10 households (83 percent) who feel stressed out about the country’s future.
Can there be any more pressure?
There are 8 million individuals already living with the challenges of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) before the most recent wave of COVID-19 related stressors arrived.
The majority of individuals with PTSD already and likely will continue to face even greater challenges as a result of the pandemic.
Experts warn that people with PTSD whose heightened stress response (often recognized as our “fight, freeze or flight” response) is already triggered are feeling overly magnified stress levels that are likely to linger longer and be far more stubborn to treat than the average population.
“Our service members are exposed to a tremendous amount of stress,” says Vaughn. “Whether that stress is manifested in PTSD or not, it is real and significant. Compounded by the additional stressor we all share – COVID-19 — (PTSD) can grow to seem overwhelming.
“The isolation we’ve all faced and will continue to face in the foreseeable future only serves to exacerbate challenges,” says Vaughn. “Those who’ve already surmounted such disproportionate stress levels deserve to have access to resources to help minimize the compounding factor that COVID-19 has in their daily lives.”
And that’s why programs that support veterans is so critical this year, more than any other.
The things that challenge the average individual will become increasingly challenging for individuals with PTSD and their families, according to experts who advocate for additional support.
There are many barriers, according to experts. Chief among them are long waitlists and onerous Veterans Administration (VA) requirements as well as long-held social stigma associated with mental illness prevalent within military communities.
Less than half of returning veterans needing mental health services receive any treatment at all, and among those needing treatment for PTSD and major depression less than one-third receive evidence-based care, according to a study conducted by the RAND Center for Military Health Policy Research.
Veterans are tough, according to Brothers N Arms CBD co-founder Eduardo Cardoso who served two tours in a U.S. Marine Corps combat unit deployed in Sangin, Afghanistan.
“We are trained to deal with whatever we encounter, so when we come across an obstacle, we are more likely to want to assess and deal with it on our own,” says Cardoso.
Coming home was definitely a challenge for Cardoso. Like many veterans, he describes his return home as “more difficult than I imagined.”
“It was extremely challenging to find my purpose after my service,” says Cardoso, who was diagnosed with PTSD in 2010. “It was difficult to find my center. Vets are trained to be fiercely competitive and tough. No one wants to be ‘a problem,’ particularly when you count among those lucky enough to make it back home.”
Like Cardoso, West Point Graduate, and Army Officer Mike Tatz found himself among the many veterans who face an uphill battle following his years of service.
The co-founder of Resilience CBD, who underwent neck surgery for service-related injuries, fought daunting physical challenges largely on his own, avoiding prescribed opioids whenever he could.
“No veteran wants to be seen as the ‘weaker one,’” adds Cardoso, who, like many, also tried to deal with his PSTD on his own.
“I was massively unsuccessful,” says Cardoso. “When I returned home, I came home alone…without unit, my support system and, the collective strength of my brothers.”
That support system is something that is critical to veterans.
“In service, you are in a constant state of readiness,” explains Tatz. “To reacclimate is difficult. You’ve got to go against your training and the well-honed instincts that helped you survive.
“While your mind is screaming that you should stay on ‘hyper-alert,’ you’ve got to find a way to close it down,” says Tatz, who explains that many veterans struggle to make the transition on their own.
“Service members deserve our special thanks, support, and TLC,” says Lee Sosin, the Chief Marketing Officer of Green Roads, which has offered military members 50 percent product discounts since 2017. The company expanded its program to First Responders before the start of the pandemic.
Green Roads, Receptra Naturals, Brothers N Arms CBD, and Resilience CBD are among the more than 45 CBD companies that offer special military and product discounts, according to market research conducted by CBD Marketing Hub.
“There’s an increase in stress levels across America and, for that matter, the world,” says Sosin. “The need for consistent and meaningful self-care has never been more apparent.”
That conversation is critically important in our veteran community, which research has shown had been facing enormous stress higher than the average population prior to COVID-19.
Veterans suffering from PTSD have an “always-on” survival instinct, which causes them to have exaggerated responses to everyday stressors.
When you have PTSD, the world feels unsafe, according to Taft, who says that his PTSD caused him to have vivid and unsettling memories of combat. Even familiar sounds, like the noise popcorn, makes as it’s popping, could trigger a response.
They need an “off button” or at least a dimmer switch, according to mental-health experts.
Some researchers say that CBD may help those suffering from PTSD.
Researchers at the University of Ottawa concluded that CBD’s ability to modulate fear memories may make it an effective therapy to treat PTSD disorders in a 2019 study published in Frontiers of Neuroscience.
Another clinical study, published in Frontiers, suggests that CBD may offer therapeutic benefits for PTSD when combined with psychological therapies for PTSD.
According to one study, 91% of PTSD patients saw improvement in their conditions after being treated with CBD.
Animal studies, which generally proceed human trials, showed early promise for CBD’s use in PTSD cases.
Researchers at the University of São Paulo, Brazil. report that its animal studies show that CBD may help block perceived threats and therefore be an effective PTSD treatment.
Numerous studies site CBD’s effectiveness in combination with other therapies.
A Minnesota Department of Health report says that CBD may work well with other extinction-based therapies for anxiety disorders such as PTSD.
All agree that more controlled scientific research is needed.
Proponents hope that it will also be as common in military duffels soon.
It may if the recently passed House of Representative amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) passes the Senate. Advocates say the provision would override the existing Department of Defense (DoD) policy enacted in February, which prohibits the use of any hemp products by active and reserve military members.
Backers also hope that CBD may help quell rising opioid-addiction rates.
Researchers at the Brightfield Group learned that 42 percent of people who use CBD gave up pharmaceutical drugs in favor of CBD or some form of cannabis in a 2017 study. While this is great, always talk to your doctor before adding or removing any supplement or pharmaceutical drug from your diet.
A growing body of research seems to point toward CBD’s efficacy, particularly among veterans who, oftentimes, want to maintain the same level of physical and emotional strength honed through years of service.
“Vets are tough,” says Vaughn, who says Receptra Naturals formulates products that uniquely serve the demands of veterans.
Today, an increasing number of CBD companies are stepping up to make CBD more affordable for veterans and the 1.3 million service members employed by the U.S. military.
Veteran discounts and validation policies, which vary by brand, are regularly updated on our website: cbdmarketinghub.com.
“It’s great when we (veterans) have a network and people to support you,” says Taft.