Veterans Helping Veterans Heal and Granting Them the Power to Forget

It’s an amazing sight to see so many of our nation’s veterans entering the cannabis movement. At the 2018 World Cannabis Conference in Pittsburgh, Jose Belen presented a tragic statistic. He said that over 2,000 veterans each year commit suicide. I think it’s apparent why this happens. After all, members of the armed services often see things most of us cannot even contemplate. And not only do they witness it, but they also have to process these events in such a way that they can still function, and perform their duties. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) has become part of our household vocabulary. What’s important, though, is helping current or former soldiers properly heal, before depression and PTSD begin to spiral out of their control.

Just like Jose Belen’s founding Mission Zero, veteran Craig Henderson is taking matters into his own hands through the formation of Extract Labs, a Boulder, Colorado company dedicated to designing quality, full-spectrum cannabis-derived products. Craig has found that cannabis has helped him in his own life. “Things that would normally set me off don’t,” he commented.

Extracts Lab’s products are all full-spectrum, to maximize the entourage effect. “We’ve already seen things like Spice, these synthetic THC products. It’s just not as simple as coming up with a single, synthetic compound,” Craig said. “We sell wholesale isolate, but all of our products, including creams, tinctures, and pet products don’t use isolate. It’s what differentiates us. Isolates are what would benefit the big corporations.”

Craig’s interest in cannabis began shortly after leaving the military in 2006. He had gone to college, and just wasn’t enthralled with the routine college life, or Corporate America. It wasn’t him. He had begun to look at cannabis differently. He began his cannabis life with Apeks Supercritical, where he helped design extraction equipment. Soon after, he moved to Colorado. He had been training people on how to extract while at Apeks. He also had learned that cannabis processors cannot touch hemp, and concomitantly, hemp processors were needed. These occurrences led to his creation of Extract Labs.

Craig knew that his products could help his fellow veterans combat PTSD, and injuries obtained while serving in the military. Knee and back injuries are common, and often, the wounded must resort to pain pills, which can become very addictive, despite their legality. He felt that CBD could help ween these people off of pills. Regarding PTSD, Craig recognized his fellow soldiers needed help with being able to forget things. And that attribute in some cannabis varieties is obviously familiar.

As with most cannabis businesses, the clients of Extract Labs have unique backgrounds and rationales for why they have evolved into cannabis users. “One-third of our clients use our products for general anxiety.”

The pharmaceutical industry has been mute for some time regarding cannabis, but this has metamorphosed into an intensifying interest in cannabis from the softening position of the federal government. As a small business, at least compared to the likes of those names we’ve heard kicked around in the pharmaceutical and agricultural industries, I wondered what Craig and Ian Kelley, Extract Labs social media manager, thought about this possibility. “We don’t really see this affecting Extract Labs, at least in the near future,” Craig answered. “Craft cannabis will still be popular.” “We always have to be planning for the future,” Ian added. “There will always be a place for us if we continue to provide quality products.”

And that’s just what they did for our staff. We had the fortune of trying a hemp-derived CBD muscle cream for facilitate the lessening of bodily aches and pains, and one of their full-spectrum, hemp-derived CBD tinctures. The tincture contained one gram of CBD. Both products resulted in rewarding success stories for those who tried them. Said one colleague: “The CBD tincture helped me realize a more relaxed state throughout the day. Really, it provided a more pleasant existence, allowing me to better focus, and remain calmer when stressors reared their foul heads.” Another colleague tried the muscle rub, testing it out for lower back and knee pain. “The cream allowed me to better function, and helped increase mobility. I’d much rather apply this product topically than resort to pain pills that can provide internal side effects,” they reported.

While everyone can benefit from the preventative and medicinal aspects of hemp and cannabis products, our nation’s veterans can utilize these plants to mentally and physically heal. It’s probable that many might turn away from this natural treatment for fear of losing federal income, or because stigmas still cling to reality. All of us can empower these men and women through cannabis advocacy, dedication to the creation of powerful elixirs capable of treating their pain and anguish, and by the government’s recognition that these people deserve the freedom to treat themselves with a benevolent plant, rather than through pills that may only mask their conditions with gossamer.

About the author

Jason S. Lupoi, Ph.D.

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