Post Trauma: Trying to Forget

By Mary Lou Smart © 2012 www.medicalcannabisart.com

The sky was brilliant mineral blue on the hot July afternoon in
pain, and spent most of the following five weeks in the hospital before her son, Racer Clay,  was delivered  with no complications. At 7 pounds, 6 ounces, he was healthy.

2011 when Nicholette DeVilbiss decided to meet her husband for lunch at the Pizza Hut in Farmington, New Mexico. She had been home all morning, and wanted to get out and enjoy the fresh air.

It was a pleasant day. They talked about the upcoming birth of their second son, who was due to arrive in three weeks. They planned an early dinner, because Kash Michael, their 9-year-old, had baseball practice first thing in the morning. After lunch, while running errands, they drove across town on Auburn Street, a back road.

While she remembers almost everything about that day, there is one striking detail that she would rather forget. Sitting in the passenger seat of her husband’s ’98 Chevy pick-up, she watched in horror as a minivan drove across the two-lane road and crashed into them, head on. That memory plays over and over in her mind.

“I remember the moment I realized that he was going to hit us,” she said. “I knew that car was going to hit us. I remember being pulled out of the truck. None of the doors would open.”

When her seatbelt malfunctioned, DeVilbiss was thrown, head first, through the windshield. Other drivers that had witnessed the acci- dent stopped to help her hus- band pull her from the truck, which was totaled. When the police arrived, she was put in an ambulance and rushed to the hospital. The driver of the minivan was arrested. He had no vehicle registration or insurance, and he had been drinking.

One week after the accident, DeVilbiss began having seizures. Mild at first, they would increase in frequency and intensity in the months to come. Her post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) was immediate.

“I didn’t want to be in any vehicles whatsoever,” she said. “Even now, I am not able to ride, even as a passenger, without having the symptoms of my PTSD.”

Despite medical issues, she did not take any medications for six months while breast feeding her newborn. After weaning him, she began taking seizure medications. She also began trying various therapies to treat the post-trau- matic stress. Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is one integrative psychotherapy approach that she is hoping will help her get beyond the disturbing memories.

Following advice given to her by one of her doctors, DeVilbiss also obtained a recommendation for medical cannabis. It had been a decade, prior to the birth of her first son, since she had smoked marijuana recreationally. This time around, she learned first-hand about cannabis as a medicine. It helped to control her seizures. It also calmed the PTSD symptoms better than any of the other treatments that she had tried.

Both epilepsy and PTSD are qualifying conditions in New Mexico’s medical cannabis program. Considerable research and patient testimony con- vinced New Mexico lawmakers to include PTSD as the only psychiatric indication qualifying for a recommendation in the state’s program. Other states are following suit.

Estimates put troops return- ing from Iraq and Afghanistan with PTSD, depression and traumatic brain injury at well over 300,000

Because of her injuries, which included lacerations to her face and legs, her doctors said she could not go through the trauma of childbirth right away. She was in severe

PTSD is something that many suffer from after experiencing or witnessing trauma. It is considered the fourth most common psychiatric disorder, affecting 10 percent of all men and 18 percent of all women, with rates much high- er in high-trauma locales such as war zones or extreme

poverty locations. The National Center for PTSD, oper- ating within the United States Department of Veterans Affairs, estimates that up to 8 percent of the country’s population will have PTSD at some point in their lives, and that approximately 5.2 million adults will experience it during any given year.

Combat injuries inflicted on military veterans make them much more likely to struggle with PTSD. According to statistics assembled by the Pew Research Center, one out of every 10 veterans alive today was seriously injured at some point while serving in the military; three-quarters of those injuries occurred in combat, and those with signifi- cant service-related injuries are more than three times as likely as other veterans to experience PTSD.  Estimates put troops returning from Iraq and Afghanistan with PTSD, depression and traumatic brain injury at well over 300,000.

The greatest number of patients qualifying for a medical cannabis recommendation in New Mexico have PTSD,  and many are veterans.

Quite often, traditional pharmaceuticals are not able to manage the anxiety, the nightmares, and the constant, recurring thoughts that people experience with the condi- tion. Animal studies point to hyperactivation of the amygdala, the part of the brain involved in emotional regulation. Shown in research to perform a primary role in the processing and memory of emotional reactions, the amygdalae have a large number of cannabinoid recep- tors, as do other areas of the brain feeding into them. Cannabis has been credited with helping to control the mood swings, irritability and anger  associated  with PTSD, and to decrease anxiety, allowing patients to func- tion better.

“I definitely take less medication now that I am on cannabis than I did before,” DeVilbiss said. “Cannabis is the only one of my medications that actually takes care of both of my conditions at once. I feel that it works  on many levels, and that is definitely a plus for me.”

DeVilbiss has a personal production license, which allows her to grow up to 16 plants. She admits that learning to grow the plant is a challenge, but enjoys the do-it-your- self route, and finds it more cost effective than buying from a state-controlled dispensary. She has heard that she will be in a better position to control the consistency of the medicine if she grows it herself. She finds vaporizing to be easier on her lungs than smoking, and uses an iolite2, a hand-held vaporizer.

Every cloud has a silver lining, and for DeVilbiss the acci- dent did present one opportunity by opening her eyes to the confusing realm of medical cannabis programs. Disappointed with the company hired to help her

through the application process to be registered with New Mexico’s Department of Health, she  realized  that she could do better. She opened EarthWorthy Compassionate Care.

“For me, getting started was diffi- cult, and what I’ve created with EarthWorthy is a company that can simplify the process,” she said. “There are so many people that need cannabis therapy, and there are so few who know how to obtain the state approval without getting ripped off.”

At EarthWorthy Compassionate Care, a patient’s medical records are reviewed. If a documented, qualifying condi- tion exists, a doctor’s appointment is scheduled. If New Mexico’s Department of Health accepts the  patient  into its medical cannabis program, additional help is provid- ed. The company also offers medicine counseling, and patient-only classes and support groups.

DeVilbiss, 31, recently graduated with honors from San Juan College, earning two associate degrees; one in liber- al arts, and the other in human services with an empha- sis on counseling and substance abuse counseling. She is taking classes at New Mexico Highlands University, working toward a bachelor’s degree in social work. She was halfway through coursework when the accident and birth of her son temporarily derailed her studies. She said it was cannabis that allowed her to cut back on pharma- ceutical medications so that she could focus. She deals with recovery while raising a family, working  and going to school. Passionate about her field of study, and a patient herself, she empathizes with those who find they might benefit from cannabis therapy.

“My degrees help tremendously with what I do,”  she  said. “With the medical cannabis field being so new, we are at the forefront of a human services need. I don’t just deal with one part of the population. This is not just eld- erly people learning about it; there is a whole wide range of people that benefit from cannabis.”


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Latest Posts

This menu shows the most recently posted content for a quick update since you last checked-in.

News Distribution Partnership with CannabisNewsWire (CNW)

Treating Yourself is a news distribution partner of CNW. Would you like your story headlines published on this website? Are you...

CBC Family Feud’s Gerry Dee to Host Cannabis Industry Awards Gala

ANNOUNCING THE 2020 O’CANNABIZ INDUSTRY AWARDS GALA – NOMINATIONS NOW OPEN FOR SUBMISSIONS EVENT DATE: THURSDAY APRIL 23, 2020 TORONTO AIRPORT...

From the Family Vault of Shanti-Baba

"Seems more than strange to grow up as a child and see how important my parents and their peers viewed...

Why Get Pines Wheatgrass

Wheatgrass might just be a typical plant growing in your backyard, but few people know that it has a lot...

How to Make Your Own Canna-Caps

by Old Hippie BeyondChronic.com What do you do when you need cannabis medicine and you can’t or don’t want to...

Database Search

Are you researching marijuana as medicine? Use the simple form below to search any condition. Read personal stories from patients just...

Cannabinoid Receptors in the Body and Their Importance

David B. Allen M.D. By legal Democratic Vote; Cannabis Is Medicine To get CBD from top verified sources, click here....

The True Origins of Haze

By Big Herb It all began in 1969, In Santa Cruz, California. At the time, there was Thai Oaxacan and...

Top 5 Health Benefits of Hemp Seeds

Hemp seeds are those seeds that are formed from Cannabis Sativa, a hemp plant. They are different from marijuana but...

Cannabis and Working Out

If you're wondering how cannabis can help you with your workout regime, then you probably need to read this article....

How Companies Are Creating Innovative New CBD Products

Cannabidiol (CBD) is a non-psychoactive compound found in cannabis and hemp that may deliver unique health benefits. CBD is just...

5 Marijuana Compounds That Could Help Combat Cancer, Alzheimer’s & Parkinson’s

by Paul Armentano Deputy Director of NORML (the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws) This commentary was initially...

Living with Osteogenesis Imperfecta

By Michael Morrow My name is Michael Morrow, I'm 37  years  old and I have Osteogenesis Imperfecta. OI is a...

Gifts from Mother Nature

By Dianna Donnelly - "The couch activist” Aspirin, otherwise known as Acetylsalicylic Acid, is one of the most commonly ingested preventative medicines...

Paradise Seeds Allkush; More Than Just Kush

One of the new feminised strains from Paradise Seeds is named “Allkush”. So nothing but Kush? Taken genetically literally, no...

28ft… The John Berfelo Story

By John Berfelo "Medical marijuana saved me from a life on pharmaceutical drugs..." My name is John Berfelo and this...

My Grinspoon Moment

By Carl Hedberg Sometimes a single meeting can change your life. Such was the case for me when, in the...

The Science Behind Cannabis Safety

David B. Allen M.D. By legal Democratic Vote; Cannabis Is Medicine. Drug safety is on the minds of most all...

Heavenly Hash: The Art, Science and Industry of Cooking with Cannabis Extracts

by Samuel Wells Samuel Wells is an Assistant Professor of English in Denver, CO An Edible Enigma As scientific and...

Living High with HIV

How Medical Marijuana Rivals Mainstream HIV Medicine By BenBot In 2011, I was diagnosed with HIV. An unmarked van was...

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

With Veterans at Risk, Change is Necessary, but Progress is Slow By Mary Lou Smart In 1933, the repeal of...

Milagro Oil for Lung Cancer

By Mary Lou Smart www.medicalcannabisart.com Compassionate care advocates Michelle and Michael Aldrich at Patients Out of Time’s Seventh National Clinical...

Living and Dealing with ADHD

by Patricia Allen It was back in 1974 that I first became familiar with the term Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder...

Inflammatory Comments

by Bill Drake As a long-time TY reader I’ve noticed what seems to me to be a rather over- whelming...

How Cannabis Might Keep Coronary Stents Open Longer

By David B. Allen M.D.Cardiothoracic and Vascular Surgeon, Member ICRS. And Prisoner of the Drug War Cali215doc@gmail.com First the set...

Unlocking the Secrets, Advanced Tissue Culture

Tissue Culture is a process of isolating cells from plant tissue (explants) which are cultured (grown artificially), in a nutrient...

Anxiety Panic Disorder and Cannabis

By Hal Lubinsky My name is Hal Lubinsky. I'm in my forties, a husband, a father, a grandfather, a U.S....

Can Cannabis Cure Schizophrenia?

By Richard Shrubb, Freelance sailing, health and social affairs journalist ould cannabis treat or even cure schizophrenia? Things look promising...

Multiple Sclerosis: Regaining the Good Life with Whole Plant Therapy

By Mary Lou Smart© 2012 www.medicalcannabisart.com A trial attorney, Jim Dyer practiced law in Tucson, Arizona for 34 years before...

The Science of Cannabis Leads in Many Directions

The Evolution of a Sense of Well-Being By Mary Lou Smart www.medicalcannabisart.com While speaking at Patients Out of Time’s Seventh...

Healthy Body, Healthy Mind

By Shantibaba It is evident for all people who wish to listen that doing all things within moderation is better...

Post Traumatic Stress

Psychology and Medication at its Best By Jeff Kundert OTR Jeff works as a Wellness and Fitness Educator. He has...

The Ripper Effect

By Subcool Some really interesting information has come to my attention, and I am very excited to tell everyone in...

Auto-flowering Plants

By Shantibaba The discreet evolution of Auto-flowering cannabis plants is a recent occurrence, one that is in mode at present...

Uncovering the Original Sacrament: Chris Bennett’s Cannabis and the Soma Solution

Review by Samuel Wells When asked to name an author crucial to the growing mainstream understanding of the uses of...

Cornerstone of Individualized Phytogenetics ACDC 22:1 @ CB3

Alternative Cannabinoid Dietary Cannabis 22%CBDA:1%THCA acting at GPR55 Alias CB3 by William L. Courtney, MD, AACM American Academy of Cannabinoid...

Mr. Magoo

By Ron Hudson My birthdays: I woke that birthday morning, in October of 1966, knowing it would begin like the...

Medical Cannabis University

By Reverend Philip H Hoff - Chancellor, MedicalCannabisUniversity.org ( MCU, Inc. ), a 501 c(3) nonprofit school. The school focused...

Storm’s Story

By Georgia Peschel WHEW! Delivering this kid was like delivering a hurricane!” When our son was born, those were our...

Soil Pests & Diseases

By Lazystrain Soil is a living organism made up of billions of microbes and bacteria. The cosmology of soil life...

A Tragedy Felt Around the World

by Jonny Appleweed On Oct. 27, 1970, President Richard M. Nixon signed into law the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and...

Autism & Cannabis

Prohibition Makes it Tough on Parents by Mary Lou Smart Jeremy Patrone (not his real name) has a goal. He...

Vaporization of Cannabis: Are there benefits over combustion?

By William Eckhardt Although vaporization is a relatively recent development for the delivery of cannabinoids the proliferation of vast numbers...

Bedrocan

By Harry Resin Generally when you think of Amsterdam, you think of the coffee shops, but that’s not all that’s...

The Sale Of Cardarine/GW501516 As A SARM – Are There Benefits For Sports

The claim is Cardarine or GW50151 is one among a class of supplements that many refer to as 'exercise in...

How To Successfully Detox From Marijuana

Whether you have a drug test to pass, or you simply want to cleanse your body from marijuana, you definitely...

How Much THC Is Ideal for Optimal Creativity

Many cannabis users will vouch that marijuana can cause them to tap into their creative side. While the psychoactive effects...

How to Choose the Right CBD Products for Pets

Over the years, lots of states in the US have seen the benefits of medical marijuana. There are pills made...

Bulking Up Tips – Muscle Building Steroids

Bulking up is a long, long process. Daily, intense workouts, a strict diet and much more… God only knows how...