News Local

Marijuana for Trauma opens

By Stephen Uhler, The Daily Observer

Marijuana For Trauma (MFT), a veterans' owned and operated organization helping fellow soldiers, has opened a branch in Petawawa. In the photo are, starting from left, Andrew Brown, MFT Ontario vice-president, Chad Kendall, MTF Petawawa branch president, Fabian Henry, MTF founder and CEO, Cory D'Andrea, MTF Petawawa branch vice-president, and Chris Dupee, MFT Ontario president.

Marijuana For Trauma (MFT), a veterans' owned and operated organization helping fellow soldiers, has opened a branch in Petawawa. In the photo are, starting from left, Andrew Brown, MFT Ontario vice-president, Chad Kendall, MTF Petawawa branch president, Fabian Henry, MTF founder and CEO, Cory D'Andrea, MTF Petawawa branch vice-president, and Chris Dupee, MFT Ontario president.

PETAWAWA – Soldiers in the Ottawa Valley now will have improved access to the care and medicine they need to deal with the trauma of combat.

Marijuana For Trauma (MFT) has opened up a new chapter in Petawawa, its first in Eastern Ontario, to provide alternative medical solutions to members of Canada's Armed Forces, veterans and civilians. MFT has been providing this service for well over two years from its base in New Brunswick and this will be the sixth chapter and seventh office they have opened to date.

Cory D'Andrea, vice-president of the Petawawa chapter, said the company is owned and run by veterans, operating on a veterans helping veterans principle.

“This is a clinic to help veterans, first responders and civilians to get the support and treatment they need,” he said, which is through access and use of medical marijuana.

Chad Kendall, manager of the Petawawa office and chapter president, said the primary objective of MFT is to reach out to as many veterans with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and chronic pain as possible to help them.

“We want to assist them in getting legal coverage for medical marijuana through the Ministry of Veterans Affairs and other sources,” he said.

D'Andrea said MFT helps their clients get connected with doctors who are friendly when it comes to prescribing marijuana, fill out the necessary paperwork, and provide the support needed, ranging from marijuana management, peer support meetings, yoga and meditation on a weekly basis.

Kendall said MFT staff are all volunteers, aside from the administration positions and all monetary gains are rolled back into veteran programs to which they will be organizing.

“We believe, and facts show, that medical marijuana provides great relief alternatively to traditional pharmaceuticals,” he said, who is using marijuana himself to deal with PTSD. “Many of the drug regimens have side effects which can include suicidal ideation, erectile dysfunction, numbness, etc. Marijuana shares none of these, and with so many veterans committing suicide, we believe that cannabis has its place in our treatment plan.”

D'Andrea agrees, saying as a veteran also wrestling with PTSD and chronic pain, he has tried conventional medications but found they didn't work, or hampered him with all sorts of side effects. Using marijuana eases his symptoms, without the side effects.

To date MFT has assisted more than 500 patients access a natural choice medication and treatment for their injuries. MFT has been profiled widely in media in the Maritimes where they already have four offices and is featured in the current June, 2015 Edition of High Times magazine.

The Marijuana For Trauma – Petawawa office, located at 2062 Petawawa Blvd, is only seven minutes from Garrison Petawawa's front gates. It joins Markham and Trenton as the first MFT Ontario branches as it expands out of the Maritimes.

Fabian Henry, MFT's founder and CEO, said their focus is dealing with trauma, which is why they are located close to combat bases. An Afghanistan veteran like many of their clients, he found himself living in his brother's basement with $44 in his savings account, as he struggled with PTSD. Henry founded the first MFT in the Gagetown, N.B. area in the spring of 2013 when he decided to help others like him cope with it.

“Our focus is trauma,” he said, noting they all have injuries – whether physical, mental or emotional – and dealing with it in the company of fellow veterans remains the most effective way for them.

Henry said the use of marijuana is controversial in some circles, but then again, so is the acceptance of PTSD as a condition needing treatment.

“We're fighting these two stigmas together,” Henry said. “Do you support us or not?”

To find out more about the support and services being offered, go to www.mftgroup.ca. To contact the local office in Petawawa, call Chad Kendall, (613) 401-6197.

stephen.uhler@sunmedia.ca



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