The ABCs of CBD and PTSD

February 10th, 2022

Written by Zack Ruskin

Get a crash course in compassionate care programs and learn how Glass House Farm is giving back to veterans in need.

With the summer in full swing, Glass House Farms is focused on soaking up the season.

Last month, we celebrated Pride and gave you the scoop on a few of our favorite products for the warm weather and fun days ahead.

But along with the chance to have some well-deserved fun, we also see the arrival of summer as a timely opportunity to help spread the message about military veterans, PTSD, and the life-changing difference having fair access to cannabis can make.

Before we dive into that topic, however, it’s important to first understand the history and purpose of compassionate cannabis programs. Before California’s voters legalized the adult-use sale of weed in 2016, the state first approved a medical-only market back in 1996. At the time, it was the first of its kind anywhere in the U.S., though eventually its blueprint would be replicated again and again by other states.

As part of Prop 215’s framework, California’s medical cannabis market also allowed for licensed cultivators to donate cannabis, tax-free, to be dispersed by dispensaries and non-profit organizations dedicated to providing safe, quality weed to those in need but unable to afford any on their own. It was a system that worked remarkably well until the arrival of Prop 64 two decades later.

Unfortunately, the language of Prop. 64 failed to provide a legal pathway for licensed cannabis operators to donate products without incurring a hefty tax fee. Suddenly expected to pay taxes on cannabis not intended for sale, many growers who had long supplied compassionate care programs with flower were left with no other choice but to stop their flow of donations.

Thankfully, this issue was rectified with the passage of SB-34 on March 1, 2020. Also known as the Dennis Perron and Brownie Mary Act, the legislation is named for two seminal cannabis activists who were deeply entrenched in high-risk efforts to provide medical marijuana to local HIV/AIDS patients in San Francisco.

As a result of SB-34’s success, growers now once again have the chance to give back to those who can benefit from low-cost or complimentary cannabis. Though there are, of course, restrictions to this system — only medical cannabis patients or caregivers with a valid recommendation or medical marijuana identification card can receive donations, for instance

— the codification of the Dennis Perron and Brownie Mary Act nonetheless reflects a massive achievement.

To honor this moment, Glass House Farms is ready to do our part by partnering with a network of nonprofit partners who can accept and deliver donations to veterans in need. Working with amazing organizations like Weed for Warriors and Veterans Cannabis Coalition, we’re proud to be providing cannabis to those who can use it most.

In April alone, we donated over 18,000 3.5g jars. In May, we donated a mixture of 2.5g and 7g packages that totaled 9,580 units. As we explained in an earlier blog, the methodology for who receives donations varies a bit by location and organization.

While mass distribution events — like the one we just held on June 4th with Pottery Los Angeles — are intended to supply donations to veterans, there are also smaller programs that regularly disperse compassionate care cannabis to veterans, the seriously ill, and some low-income senior citizens. One such program is run by our partner store: Farmarcy, Santa Ana.

At the root of these efforts, of course, is scientific research that shows cannabis may hold great promise as a treatment for PTSD. A common affliction for veterans of military combat, PTSD can be a debilitating, life-altering condition. It has also led to a tragic uptick in suicides among the military veteran community over the last two decades. Fortunately, researchers are finding that cannabis — and specifically, CBD — may be able to help.

Though the exact specifics remain a riddle as yet unsolved, one current theory is that cannabis treats PTSD symptoms by “[reducing] activity in the amygdala — a part of the brain associated with fear responses to threats.” The gist of another theory lies in the idea that cannabinoids may “play a role in extinguishing traumatic memories.”

In both cases, the results could be profoundly beneficial to those suffering from PTSD.

Within Glass House Farm’s own strain library, we’re proud to feature our proprietary, CBD-rich Jelly Fish as well as Tangelo Flow, our new strain with a perfectly balanced 1:1 ratio of THC to CBD. While we recognize that our donations are but one small part of a larger effort to ensure all who require access to safe, legal cannabis are able to receive it, it remains a vital priority and one Glass House Farms stands ready to support in all possible forms.

Zack Ruskin

Zack is a freelance cannabis and culture reporter. He served as San Francisco Weekly's "Pacific Highs" columnist for six years, covering local equity programs, Bay Area cannabis news, and interviewing everyone from Willie Nelson to Rep. Barbara Lee. His other bylines include the San Francisco Chronicle, Leafly, California Leaf Magazine, The Nib, Vanity Fair, KQED, and Variety. Follow him on Twitter: @zackruskin.