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UK cannabis bosses pledge to support veterans in accessing ‘vital’ medicines

The Cannabis Industry Council has joined over 11,000 other organisations across the country in signing the Armed Forces Covenant.



There are around 2.4 million veterans in the UK, according to the Office for National Statistics.

The Cannabis Industry Council (CIC) has committed to supporting UK veterans in accessing medicines for conditions such as PTSD and chronic pain. 

Leaders at the CIC have joined over 11,000 other organisations across the country in signing the Armed Forces Covenant, which pledges to support the UK’s military community and veterans.

There are around 2.4 million veterans in the UK, according to the Office for National Statistics, of which only 75% describe themselves as ‘healthy’. 

Veterans are also more likely to experience health conditions such as PTSD than members of the general public.

Some studies have estimated the overall rate of probable PTSD among a sample of current and ex-serving regular military personnel was 6% in  2014/16 , compared to a rate of 4.4% in the general population. 

The Covenant recognises that those who serve or have served in the Armed Forces, and their families, should be treated with ‘fairness and respect in the communities, economy and society they serve with their lives’.

The Armed Forces Act 2011, which enshrined the Covenant in law, also imposed a legal duty on the provision of NHS primary and secondary care, to ensure members of the Armed Forces are not disadvantaged, and that they can receive ‘special provision’ where appropriate.

The pledge states: “We commit to uphold the Armed Forces Covenant and support the Armed Forces Community. We recognise the contribution that Service personnel, both regular and reservist, veterans and military families make to our organisation, our community and to the country.”

By signing the pledge, the CIC has committed to upholding the principles of the Covenant in a range of ways. This includes supporting the employment of veterans, advocating for access to and use of vital medicines and wellbeing products particularly those with PTSD, depression, disabilities, and chronic pain, and providing outreach to help educate veterans of the medicines legally available to them to help improve their mental and physical wellbeing.

The organisation will also participate in and support national events such as Armed Forces Day, Reserves Day, the Poppy Appeal Day and Remembrance activities.

“The Cannabis Industry Council is delighted to have signed the Armed Forces Covenant,” commented CIC Co-Chairs, Jamie Bartley and Dr Callie Seaman. 

“The UK armed forces, particularly veterans, are rightly admired across society for their passion, skill, and sense of duty.

“The CIC aims to raise awareness of the significant contribution of our veterans, and to advocate for their access to vital medicines for treating conditions such as PTSD and chronic pain.”

The use of cannabis-based medicines among the veteran community 

Cannabis-based medicines are increasingly being prescribed for conditions such as chronic pain and PTSD as the evidence base for their safety and efficacy expands.

Research suggests that the medicinal use of cannabis is also on the rise among veterans. A 2019 study on veterans in the US found that the majority reported using cannabinoids as a substitute for either alcohol, tobacco, prescription medications, or illicit substances. 

In a separate survey of over 500 US military veterans, medicinal cannabis was found to improve quality of life and reduce unwanted use of other substances, including alcohol and other prescription medications.

A pilot study on 22 veterans found PTSD scores reduced from an average of 67.9 to 34.5 (a score of 50 is considered significant for PTSD). They also reported improvements in sleep, anxiety and chronic pain. 

The number of daily medications that patients were taking also reduced from an average of eight to an average of three and, as a result, so did the negative side-effects of those medications, which include gastrointestinal issues, brain fog, erectile dysfunction, sedation, increased anxiety and suicide ideation. 

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Sarah Sinclair is a respected cannabis journalist writing on subjects related to science, medicine, research, health and wellness. She is managing editor of Cannabis Health, the UK’s leading title covering medical cannabis and CBD, and sister titles, Cannabis Wealth and Psychedelic Health. Sarah has an NCTJ journalism qualification and an MA in Journalism from the University of Sunderland. Sarah has over six years experience working on newspapers, magazines and digital-first titles, the last two of which have been in the cannabis sector. She has also completed training through the Medical Cannabis Clinicians Society securing a certificate in Medical Cannabis Explained. She is a member of PLEA’s (Patient-Led Engagement for Access) advisory board, has hosted several webinars on cannabis and women's health and has moderated at industry events such as Cannabis Europa. Sarah Sinclair is the editor of Cannabis Health. Got a story? Email / Follow us on Twitter: @CannabisHNews / Instagram: @cannabishealthmag


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