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Jun-11-2007 00:20printcomments

Marine Combat Vet Discusses Iraq, PTSD and Medical Marijuana

The courage of an Iraq War veteran continues in his honesty about PTSD.

Nicholas Burgin
Nicholas Burgin

(SALEM, Ore.) - Salem-News.com is a unique organization, as the two primary news reporters; Tim King and Kevin Hays, are both military veterans who became journalists.

Kevin served in Desert Storm, Tim was a marine and recently returned from covering the war in Afghanistan as an embedded reporter. Dr. Phillip is a leading expert on medical marijuana in Oregon and was an Army Combat Infantryman who fought in WWII.

Along with others here, we are a group that undeniably, knows a few things about war and life and death and all of the things that coexist in between those factors.

At the end of the day, we know that our nation and our society itself is not keeping up with the increasing demands and needs of our veterans.

Dr. Leveque believes that if medical marijuana were prescribed to combat veterans with PTSD, that they would lead longer, happier and more productive lives. While some people scoff at the notion, we see large numbers of veterans standing in agreement with Leveque, and states are increasing legalizing marijuana for medical use, they now number 11.

This is a story by a Marine who graciously agreed to share these intimate details about his life because he believes it is important, I couldn't agree more.

Tim King
Salem-News.com

By an Iraq Marine Vet

I'm no Vietnam vet, but a vet of operation Iraqi freedom. I turned 18 while in boot camp because I graduated high school at 17. I was discharged early for having "personality disorder" after I went to Iraq.

I was in the Marines, and my MOS was a ground communications electronics technician. A couple months after graduating my training for the job and going to my first unit, I was "volunteered" to join and train with another unit that was leaving soon. The new task I was given was "Mortuary Affairs".

This group was put together with a couple dozen other marines from other sections. Our job was to go to locations where troops had been killed and not able to be retrieved by the group they were out with due to the fact they were under too much danger or whatever the case. I had no clue the effects this would have on me. It was a horrible experience.

It was not like going and picking up a corpse and that's it. For one, you were in a hot zone, where people were just killed, not just by gunfire.

Here are some brief descriptions of the missions I was a part of...

The first one wasn't too bad, the body was actually brought to us at the camp we were at. It was a young male marine. He was supposedly in a hummer going somewhere and might not have been wearing his helmet. He had a silver dollar sized hole in the side of his head.

When we get the bodies back the camp we have to take off all materials on the body, and go through and bag each individual body part. It was more of a surreal experience really, I did not know how I was supposed to feel.

Once our troops invaded Fallujah was when things started to get worse. On another of the missions, a truck carrying fuel was crossing a bridge and was shot with an RPG. The truck went off the bridge and fell, the fire burning most of everything.

When we went out it was usually just a dozen of us with maybe 2 hummers of security if we were lucky. For anyone who doesn't know, most the hummers used were old and poorly maintained/equipped.. almost no armor. So we get there and head down to the bottom where the truck fell and we had to pull out burnt bodies from inside of the cabin.

It sounds bad, but burnt bodies are almost like burnt food... so perhaps it wasn't as bad as the rest. It did not help our appetite when we had to eat in the same building we process the bodies in. Our shop was just a medium sized bunker, no walls or anything so yes we basically ate next to the bodies. It is obvious why some of us didn't eat the meat.

The worst mission I went on was when an army tank was traveling down a road and was blown up from a roadside explosive. The bomb was so powerful, you could not identify ANY part of the tank except for the tracks. It had been tossed a couple hundred feet in different directions.

It took us I think, about 15 hours to do this mission. There was gunfire when we first arrived but nothing more. I think we picked up a couple thousand pieces of flesh that day. Going through each one individually. They would range from small penny sized pieces to legs, torsos, heads, feet, testicles, arms, etc.

There were a few more missions but we get the idea by now I'm sure. I guess it started to become noticeable that I wasn't doing well. I was taking whole boxes of NyQuil tablets and drinking bottles of medicine to get anything I could out of it at night. I smoked probably a pack of cigarettes a day, which is a lot for me because I have never really smoked more than a couple cigs a day if at all.

My officer had me go speak to the chaplain and from there a navy doctor who was a great person to have over there. He pulled strings and had me med-evac'd out of there a few weeks later.

In the meantime I had been moved out of my job until I was able to leave. I was harassed for leaving, superiors thought I was just faking to get out.

I had become highly depressed and my roommates noticed me screaming sometimes in my sleep.

From Iraq I spent a few days at an army hospital in Germany, talking to various doctors and such... going through the process.

I was being given pills for depression and for insomnia. Then I made it back to the US and once at my base I was seen by a psychologist. They actually gave me the option to get of the military, so I did.

I had been told the process takes several months to year until you finally leave. In the meantime I started drinking daily, and stopped taking the pills they gave me because they seemed to numb my mind and I could not stand it because I have always had such a wonderful and creative mind. It made me feel like a zombie, I could not even create artwork which was my biggest hobby.

A month down the road I started having nightmares, very detailed and morbid. A few times I would wake up with tears. I began having suicidal thoughts and crying at least a few times a day. Thank god my best friend was stationed not so far, he saved my life I think.

It was hard for me to wake up because of the medicine I had been taking, that's another reason I stopped it, I was always drained. The first week I was back I never even reported back to my old unit, I didn't know what I was doing.

A week later they send somebody to come get me. There, I was harassed and treated like a piece of s%#t some more by my master sergeant. They had me sit in inventory room all day while I struggled to stay awake. I luckily had a very kind staff sergeant in charge of me at the time. He would let me sleep and go home early.

I admit I was very lucky in getting out, because it only took me about 2 months until I was officially a civilian again. I was going back home. I stayed with my older sister and her boyfriend at first, because I was not too fond of going back to my parents. My depression got worse and I started to drift further from sanity and comfort, people noticed I was a different person.

At this point I started smoking marijuana occasionally. Which was really the only time I felt anything, happy, able to think, speak, talk to people, feel normal.

Eventually I moved back with my parents and that's when things got worse for me. I had some additional problems I know was facing, I needed a job, and had people on my back constantly. I had no access to marijuana during this time.

My insomnia got to its peak to where I could not sleep AT ALL at night. I also began having more suicidal thoughts, nightmares got worse and I had them ANY time I could sleep which was usually from 7:00 AM to 12:00 PM, began having auditory and visual hallucinations everyday, and constant anxiety.

I knew I had PTSD and that the military used "personality disorder" so that they would not take the rap for it.

I finally couldn't take the insomnia anymore and was prescribed Ambien, which actually works extremely well and helped get my body back on schedule, only thing is I had to take it for 3 months and then no more because they said it was addictive.

So it became difficult without it. I did a long process of seeing doctors and filling out paperwork for the VA and was finally officially a disabled vet due to chronic Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, normally referred to as PTSD.

I started to be able to get a hold of marijuana again and when I had it things were more stable. My temper was not out of hand and I could sleep comfortably having less nightmares. At this point I had gone a year or more straight of having nightmares every night.

It has been three years now and I am much better. Time has healed me a little and I smoke marijuana as often as I can. I don't have hallucinations anymore, or rarely any nightmares. I do however still have bad anxiety, temper, and depression problems when I'm not high. Another thing I forgot to mention is that PTSD has basically ruined my memory. Since I first showed symptoms until now, my memory does not work nearly as well as it should.

I still have major problems concentrating and working sometimes too. It makes interviews and other social activities near impossible for me, as I cannot speak or express myself as I used to. I get very nervous and my mind blanks out sometimes. I cannot say if marijuana will help all my problems, but I can say marijuana helps me feel alive.

Being high is the only time I feel good and happy, deep down. I can be around loved ones or any social crowd without tweaking out from anxiety, I can think and operate much more smoothly, I don't have a short temper, and it makes me want to live.

The past couple months have been rough on me and I have been going to the VA hospital here to try and get help. The first 4 times I went, they did the same exact thing which was to ask a series of questions, ask me if I want pills and send me home. I kept telling them I did not want pills because I have seen what they have done to people I know and what they have done to me.

All I wanted was someone to talk to.

After the fourth time of going in there feeling like I wanted to die, they finally got someone for me to talk to. We have just met once so far, but I think it will be good for me.

In the meantime I have not been able to smoke recently because I am trying to find another job, which is not going too well and I only have a couple weeks before my current job ends. I have had a few interviews but blow them miserably because its getting harder and harder for me to go through the whole thing without my nerves choking me to death. Its only been a week or two since I smoked last and my temper and depression are already busting through the door. I worry too easily and stress out to the extreme.

Take what you will from this story, but I know for a fact marijuana has saved my life numerous times.




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nick burgin September 14, 2011 12:31 pm (Pacific time)

The VA doesn't give a rats ass. I'm at the end of my rope and I can't hang on anymore. The VA is supposed to be there to help, and because of them I have debts, a court date, and I'm homeless with no money. They are keeping my disability and no matter who I call I can't get anything done. Before my time comes I will make sure people know about how messed up the system is so that hopefully vets stop getting jerked around. I don't mind being the sacrificial Lamb, its my purpose I guess


1/7 Suicide Charley oif vet June 30, 2010 5:47 pm (Pacific time)

marijuana helps, may be cures? for me it cures because it helps. Also had a bad addiction to prescribed med's from the military.


Phil Northcutt May 7, 2010 11:13 pm (Pacific time)

UPDATE: I hope this is a possible source of hope for other going through this. For those of you who don't know, I got my conviction reversed, got my benefits, I'm using the GI BIll to go to school and study agriculture, and another veteran in a similar situation joined forces with me and we started a delivery service called Veterans Access in the North Bay Area delivering organic high-grade medical cannabis to qualified veterans.


lance4life May 5, 2010 12:11 pm (Pacific time)

bless you all...i just got out of the corps (i never deployed, thanks to my husband) and have seen what combat can do to a good person. one of my best friends deployed and came back crazy. everything your talking about was going on with him and he is getting kicked out for popping on a piss test. he got a purple heart in iraq when his truck blew up and his driver and gunner died. his driver was on his last run before getting to meet his baby girl for the 1st time...i cry every time i hear a combat vet getting kicked out for drugs when nobody is there to help him. but i believe that if we don't give up enough people will listen and our vets can get the help they need


layla your sis March 26, 2010 9:50 pm (Pacific time)

hey nick this is layla i love you and always remember that. no matter what anyone says.LOVE YOU !


medicannabis1 March 12, 2010 7:21 am (Pacific time)

As the founder of Montana Pain Management www.montanapm.com we have hired an IOF3 vet to assist other veterans with access to medical marijuana and to help with the VA. I feel that all of you are hero's and deserve to be treated better. You deserve our support and if there is anything that I or my company can do to help ANY VET who needs it please contact me. Rick Rosio CEO Montana Pain Management 2311 3rd Street Missoula, Mt. 59802 rick@montanapm.com


helper February 2, 2010 10:40 am (Pacific time)

laura contact the dav


Chris_Storm February 1, 2010 10:21 am (Pacific time)

Your story brings me to tears raeding it. I too was discharged for PTSD, from the ARMY. I served 9 years 6 as an NCO. As a scout I saw my best friend die and more violence and death than anyone should ever see. I understand, pills do not always work. I started smoking pot to help deal and cope about 3 months after I got home, I had never used any ''drugs before'' it helped me like nothing else ever did. My wife was not fond of it and basically begged me to stop....not only because its illegal here, and she was afraid that I was becoming addicted and so on...so I stopped for a few months...then bought some from a guy I met at college...apparently it was laced with cocain and I cracked up...became suicidal and homicidal. Spent 10 days in a half way house. Now my wife says that if I get back on it she and my daughter are leaving me...It hurts me daily...I never feel right anymore.. I just do the best I can.. I said f*** the VA docs cause all they did was treat me like a criminal when I told them of the pot. My family doc has put me on an anti anxiety pill and welbutrin...it works better than any other pills Ive taken, but not like the marijunana... Hopefully the laws will change across the country soon. I been "clean"6 months and still cannot hold a stable job. I just get to depressed and dont want to leave the house. or cant concentrate at work. God Bless You for your honesty


Laura From Cpl to Pvt in a single mo December 5, 2009 6:50 am (Pacific time)

My name is Laura Woodward. I dont know if anyone even cares to read this story , but I want it to be known. I loved the Corps with all I had. First I found it hard to adjust but who didnt. I went to Iraq in August 2007. Shortly after returning I found out my mom had cancer. I went home for a while to take care of her. She passes away this Feb. August this year I was kicked out. I was very depressed after my mom died. I came back to my dick head gysgt. I was working crazy hours at the mess hall. I was over whelmed. Before hand after returning from Iraq I had developed sleeping problems, counldnt remember things, and felt depressed. I decided to smoke a joint with my buddies because I remember how it made me fell in my civilian days. Got a piss test! Popped!!! I was courtmartialed... busted from E4 to E1, confined for 30 days, took 2/3rds pay for 1 month. I had no were to turn to no one to talk to. My gysgt didn't care about shit. He said we all have our problems. All in between I got married because I needed someone... BIG mistake. After the test I got counseling to find out I had PTSD for a year. I didn't even think it could happen to me. I also got diagnosed with Bipolar. I never wanted to be kicked out, shunned away. In Iraq I got an injury to my elbow during MCMAP, dislocated my elbow and have nerve damage. I need a suregy and I can't even get VA benefits. My PTSD is still untreated and I am falling apart. I loved the Corps and I loved my Marines. I have lots of awards and memories. Can anyone recommend anything or anyone to call.


K. Jenks, M. A. September 21, 2009 2:19 pm (Pacific time)

Hey "Ice Man". I don't know if you remember me but I was deployed to Iraq with you in the Mortuary Affairs unit. I know exactly what your going through because I also came back with PTSD after serving with that unit. I beleived you when I heard that you needed to go back to the states because of the events that took place. I think everyone came back with PTSD after that tour was up. I was having suicidal thoughts and was one drink away from becoming an alcoholic. I stopped taking the anti-depressants that the doctors perscribed because it wasn't working for me and it seemed like everytime I went in to talk to them, they kept telling me the same thing over and over, "take this medication and I"ll see you in a couple of months to see how your doing." Finally I said fuck that anti-depressant bull shit and fuck those doctors and then I stopped going because it seems like they wern't doing anything for me. So I tried avoiding everyone and everything that reminded of Mortuary Affairs and very slowly over time, I got better. I can't watch a movie or even look at a photo of a burnt person anymore becauase I'll start crying like little bitch. I fist found that out in movie theatre. It just happened and I couldn't control it at all. I still think about what happened up there and everyone else in the unit and wonder what there doing. Well, I think you had guts to volunteer to work in th M.A. unit. Even though you left early, you still are a kick ass guy. We had some good times when you were up there and we all missed you when you left. I don't know if you remember who "Dino" was but I think left a few months after you for the same reasons. I'm glad that marijuana is workin out for you and I hope and pray that you get better. You take it easy Ice man! If you. Ever want to contact me my email address is: kj_3029@yahoo.com.


I.Co. 3/5 3rd plt September 9, 2009 11:30 am (Pacific time)

First and foremost Semper Fi brother. I can relate to PTSD and using MMJ to treat it. I've done 2 combat tours as an 0311 oif1 and phantom fury oif 2. we probably have chewed some of the same dirt. Your symptoms described above are exactly what i've been looking for how to describe my feelings and actions. Trying to get a claim in at the VA for PTSD my symptoms didn't develop until i got out and was pt back in with society, I just think america is to damn sensitive and everybody wants to diagnose this "condition". Its a "condition" alright , the fact that we have seen how terrible and brutal we can be to one another as humans is something that most americans don't get the pleasure of seeing so their minds are stuck in f*cking disney land mode where everything is kush and cozy. Sorry on a rant tiger got outta the cage.


Melody August 20, 2009 12:34 pm (Pacific time)

Hi Son, I am your mother and no matter how that sergent or any else wants to say that your PTSD was from something else, I Believe we all know the truth about where yours came from along with the people that left these comments to your story. I Love you and support you all the way. God Bless and I Love you, Your Mom. Melody


Skye July 8, 2009 7:43 pm (Pacific time)

My husband did two tours in Iraq. He came home and tried to kill himself and me. It has been 5 years in hell. Then we started smoking weed together, it saved us.

Editor (Tim King): We love hearing this from you guys  Tell your husband I'm damned proud of him for having the guts to serve his country and he is not alone, as I'm sure both of you already know.  You deserve a medal for making it through the really hard parts and you both deserve credit for being able to press on pass the societal stigmas and use cannabis for survival.  Don't listen to the naysayers, they probably haven't been in combat or married to a combat veteran, and if they don't use the herb then they have a wall in place from the cultural BS about pot use that is mostly untrue.  I don't say that without a lot of ways to back it up in our very articles.

Are you guys able to do it legally?  You can always write to me at tim@salem-news.com and I can connect you with our writer, Dr. Phillip Leveque, who helped Oregon get its current medical marijuna law.  I'm not positive and laws are ever changing, but California seems to be the only state that allows its use specifically for PTSD,

 Again, glad to hear about this, and be aware that we are pretty much the top dog Internet news organization when it comes to sticking up for sick Marines and soldiers.    


Brian K. May 9, 2009 3:41 am (Pacific time)

After two combat tours in Vietnam I was sent to Kansas to play war games. Three-weeks later I was in the psych ward.

Two-months later my shrink questioned how I was able to function so well. I told him I smoked weed. He told me to get my own apartment (off base). Local police caught me with 1/2 ounce in my apt. That got me a year in county jail. It was my first offense.

My three-year enlistment ended after my fourth month in jail, so the Army discharged me as Undesirable under less-than-honorable conditions. The Discharge Review Board rejected my appeal.

I was a sergeant, the only man in my platoon to receive the Bronze Star; I also received three Army Commendation Medals and the RVN Cross of Gallantry. And now I am still fighting for my VA benefits.

There are major differences between wars and police actions. We win the former, while no military force has ever been successful conducting the latter (Vietnam, Somalia, Northern Ireland, Iraq, etc.)

In 1980 I wrote, "Unlike MacNamera and other Old Soldiers from wars past, Vietnam veterans don't just fade away, they kill themselves." Alas, that warning applies even more today, as multiple deployments add increased stress to an already bad situation. We should be asking our returning vets, "Who doesn't have PTSD? And we need to remember that all of our vets were healthy people when they began their service.

The Israeli Defense Forces have begun experimenting with marijuana as a possible treatment for PTSD. That's not about the weed; it's about how some countries so appreciate their vets that they are willing to try anything to help them recapture their lives.

My free expression here, in the English language, are courtesy of US veterans.

EDITOR: Brian, Please write to us via email. We are anxious to speak with you about PTSD and your experiences. Write to: newsroom@salem-news.com; Thanks so much for sharing your story!


nick burgin April 28, 2009 9:32 pm (Pacific time)

I am glad to see others sharing there thoughts here. It has been a while since this story, and things are probably the same, maybe a little worse. I do still find my comfort using marijuana. I thank you all for the support and for sharing. I check here every so often to read the comments. I am moving up to Washington state soon, and if there is anything I can do to fight for medical marijuana for people like us, I am doing it. Take care everyone, and keep true to yourself.

Tim King to Nick:  Hey,  I hope you drop me an email if you end up here in the Pacific NW.  It is nice here, Oregon I think is better than Washington, but having you in this side of the country would be great.  tim@salem-news.com


0311 Marine February 25, 2009 5:14 pm (Pacific time)

Hey, I was stationed at Marine Barracks 8th and I in Washington D.C., and witnessed 9/11. I then spent the month of October guarding a post unarmed that pre 9/11 was armed. I started smoking pot while I was still in, I don't know what was going on in my head, I think I was on autopilot during this time, but the pot give me back my emotions and feelings. I got a BCD discharge, I still use marijuana today. I know its been seven years now, but it still feels like it was yesterday. I'm sorry that all you guys had to go to war over 9/11, I have watched "loose change" and other videos and I now completely believe 9/11 was an inside job. Anyways, god bless.


Bernie October 15, 2008 9:43 pm (Pacific time)

I too, am a Marine vet suffering w/ PTSD. I served in Iraq in 2004, working on an airfield and exposed to rocket attacks and lots of deceased. A year after I returned I suffered from the same exact symptoms as Nick. It took me over 2 years to get help because of some governmental screw ups and red tape. I do not like taking pills becasue of the harsh side effects. So, instead, I smoke marijuana. When I am high, I can associate w/ people and go out, w/ out being too drowsy or anxious. Medical marijuana should be legalized for medical uses.


Oustanding Grunt September 2, 2008 6:21 pm (Pacific time)

hang in there nick. Cpl. A 3 time OIF Vet. 0311


Brother in Arms August 25, 2008 7:19 pm (Pacific time)

Hey Bro, I am an OIF or OEF or whatever they want to call this mess VET. I was a medic for the Army in Yusafiyah part of the triangle of death. I was a lucky enough to get out already diagnosed with chronic ptsd before ever seeing the VA but as we all know my luck stopped there. Treatment is a joke at best and in most cases seems worse for your health. I hated ambien and refuse to take it for insomnia as it makes me hallucinate and sleep walk. Its amazing they give this out in theatre like candy. But as you have stated marijuana is the best treatment I have had. If smoking weed can turn a "war hero" into a "criminal" then sign me up to be "canadian" because my life isnt even half lived on the pills they hand out. Best Wishes "doc"


Dan August 14, 2008 10:07 am (Pacific time)

Nick thanks for spending the time to share with us your life, there are millions of more people who want to share also but are unable. Imagine all the horrors of war and not being able to share them due to classified info. which even means the VA - nothing like trying to show proof on a injury while on a mission that doesn't exist, and agencies that won't admit to drowning a civilian farmer after keeping him standing for 5 days. Well a joint may help me forget his face, and keep me from feeling like i should end my life so i don't harm others in a blackout or any other way


Sgt Northcutt April 28, 2008 9:45 pm (Pacific time)

Having served in Iraq as a US Marine Infantryman, I was injured in combat and also diagnosed with Chronic Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Upon returning home and receiving little or no treatment at the VA and military medical facilities, I turned to a civilian doctor for treatment and began using medical cannabis. On March 26th, 2006, I was arrested and falsely charged with sales, transportation and cultivation of marijuana, possession of methamphetamines (ecstacy), possession of a firearm with methamphetamines. There was little or no evidence to support these charges. I finally got a trial after 18 months, of which I spent 11 months incarcerated. I was acquitted of all charges except the cultivation of the marijuana which I was legally entitled to grow. Judge James B. Pierce sentenced me to one year in the county jail, time served. While incarcerated I did not receive appropriate medical care due to overcrowding and substandard conditions. Currently I am a medical cannabis patient on probation. I have lost my right to medicate on the grounds that I am in violation of my probation. I have a legitimate recommendation from a licensed physician. Medical cannabis is the only medicine that has helped my condition. Without effective medicine, my life is a painful and nightmarish struggle. I have lost all my VA benefits and am now a homeless, convicted felon, barely able to provide for my family. I served my country and fulfilled my oaths. All I ask for in return is peace and security for my family, and time to heal. Philip Northcutt Sgt/USMC (fmr) OIF 2.2 Combat Veteran


Phil Northcutt March 21, 2008 10:28 pm (Pacific time)

Nick. Me too. www.myspace.com/p7m8


Tim Bacon January 20, 2008 6:33 am (Pacific time)

Dear nick I'm not a Marine Vet but a Army Vet and reading what you wrote was like the story of my own life I graduated at 17 from Walker Valley High and was getting my own boots sandy and bloody at 18 in OIF.I was a Cav Scout.I have been hit by a few IED's that left me knocked out burnt and cut up.I was also witness to one car bomb that was so large and close it didnt make a sound we were told that the blast was so big it pushed the soundwaves past us before we could hear it but the damage was unforgetable.I remember we were headed through town and about 150meters up on the left side of the street there were three iraq police trucks getting ready to leave they were side by side and about ten feet apart they were little extended cab trucks with a auto gun mount welded in the back with one gunner per truck as we got closer I seen a little blue car pull in next to them and then a flash the blue car and the three trucks exploded the blast covered the hole street one side to the outher fifty feet and a fire ball six stories high or better at that time there was something flying at me almost hitting me in the face it landed behide a fruit stand that was about ten feet behide me and right next to one of my buddies I looked back and he yelled its someones face as I turned back around there was a man running up at me.In a flash I had my M-4 pointed ready to to fire but as looked at him from the bottom of his chin to alittle bit back from his hair line his face was peeled off.one of the medics came running up and started helping him but the worst part was when I looked back to where the blast went off there where six or seven people running around already burnt beyond saving but I got to watch them burn to death not that I wanted to.When the fire died down the car and trucks were nowhere to be found but we were in the market so there were plenty of people blown everywhere. there were body parts all over the street on the cars even hanging on the power lines and fences we spent 16 hours loading the bodys and parts onto flatbed trucks.I remember stoping to eat lunch I grabed a MRE and sat down no more than two feet from a pile of bodys and parts and ate my lunch and at the time it didnt bother me a bit I remember my baddle buddy looked at me and shook his head and came over and sat down with me.I have seen outhers but that one haunts me the most.Like you when I returned after a year of fun in the sun the VA said I had PTSD and they piled on the meds that didnt work or made it worse.After feeling like a test lab rat they could try more and more pills on I was getting at the end of my mental rope if you would. I started looking into my PTSD on the internet and I came across Medical Marijuana through my life I have looked down on Marijuana like most outher people do but I was getting ready to take my trip to Fiddlers Green so I thought why not.Alot of the time when I have blone up and went into a rage from anxieties and anger building up inside me I can feel it coming. so after almost getting into so bad trouble becouse of my anger I thought when I feel it building up I would try smoking Marijuana and it worked It calmed me down and even after the high went away the rest of the day I was mellow and happy.I also noticed that the pain I have in my back and sholder from the IEDs i was hit by were almost gone. The Marijuana kills the pain better and keeps it gone longer than the pain pills the VA gives me.I also noticed that if I smoked before I wanted to go to bed I could fall asleep easer I woke up less in the middle of the night and the best of all I'm not having as many dreams about Iraq there going away.I wnt from looking down on Marijuana to it being the answer to my prayers.Now if only the people that could make Marijuana legal could walk in our shoes and have the PTSD we DO theyed be smoking a blunt with us while signing the papers to make Marijuana legal thats what I think! Tim Bacon TN


MA3 ANDERSON November 21, 2007 2:01 am (Pacific time)

O.I.F. NAVY E.O.D. VET HERE. i HAVE TO SAY IT'S FAWKIN HARD DEALING WITH P.T.S.D. BOTH ME AND MY WIFE HAVE IT. I BELIEVE HERS IS FROM CHILDHOOD EVENTS BUT I DON'T CARE ANYMORE XANAX, KOLONAPIN, ADERAL, ZOLFT,...NONE WORKED THERAPY IS BULL ALL I WOULD DO IS GO INTO A FLASHBACK AND THROW A CHAIR THROUGH A WINDOW AND TRY TO JUMP OUT. I DROVE MY WIFE TRUCK INTO A DITCH ON THE MOUNTAIN WE LIVE AS WELL FROM A BLACKOUT. SHE'S AN M.A. (NAVY LAW ENFORCEMENT) AND TWO MONTHS AWAY FROM EAOS. I FINALLY SAID SHUT UP AND SMOKE AND GREW MY OWN NATUAL MEDICINE PUT HERE TO BY GOD TO BE USED TO SOOTHE AND HEAL. SO F&%$ THE NAVY AND THOSE COZY UPPERCLASS RIGHT WING ZELECTS BECAUSE THEY'RE TAX DOLLARS PAIN 4 MY MEDICINE. AND IF YOU ARE IN AND HAVE P.T.S.D. I SUGGEST YOU INVEST IN A WIZZANATOR. TRUST I ME USED TO DO URINALISIS NOBODY IS GONNA WATCH YOU PUT YOU D*%# IN A CUP. IF CANNABIS HELPS SOOTHE AND ELEVIATE THIS PAIN WE GO THROUGH THEN I SAY F^$* G.W. AND HIS SATANIC RIGHT WINGERS. THIS IS ABOUT RIGHT AND WRONG AND THIS COUNTRY, MILITARY AND GOVERNMENT HAS BETRAYED US AND LEFT NAKED IN THE WILDERNESS WITH NO MERCY NOR UNDERSTANDING OF STRUGGLES AND PAIN SO SCREW THEM!!! I DO WHAT'S RIGHT FOR MY BODY AND HEALTH AND IF THEY DON'T LIKE IT THEN THEY CAN SCREW THEMSELVES BECAUSE I'M GOING TO DO WHAT'S FOR ME AND MY HEALTH AND FAMILY COP OR NOT. AND HOWEVER MADE THE POINT ABOUT THE DRUG COMPANIES ALCOHOL AND JUSTICE SYSTEM IS RIGHT ON THE MONEY AND I'M GLAD PEOPLE ARE GAINING NEW SIGHT INTO THE EVIL OUR NATIONS LEADERS HAVE BESTOWED UPON US.


Another OIF Vet November 11, 2007 11:45 pm (Pacific time)

It takes some guts to talk about what went on over there, and also about medical marijuana. Go figure that natural medicine is what really works, huh? Hope things are working out. - Semper Fi


Robert Johnson October 30, 2007 11:06 pm (Pacific time)

I'm a oif vet and got discharged after my second tour for ptsd. I was in 2/2 in the battle of fallujah in april 04'. Now I'm out and smoke weed as much as possible, I sometimes think of suicide and killing others, but when I smoke weed I feel alive and happy. Keep smokin. misterrogers44@gmail.com


Andy October 15, 2007 5:13 pm (Pacific time)

Another Marine vet with the exact same story. I have been sober from alcohol and am currently on 4 prescriptions daily for the last 7 months, but that is not helping. I even talked with a shrink, but I find it better to smoke pot, relax, and talk about my experiences with other vets to be so much more incredibly effective at curving my suicidal thoughts. I once heard that Americans are people that have fought for this country, the rest of us are just citizens. So why is this country that I almost died for not going to allow me to do a drug that has merely a fraction of the negative side effects of alcohol. Better yet, the small percentage of people that do get suicidal tendencies from anti-depressants!


Mitch June 13, 2007 8:00 am (Pacific time)

Nick, You Honesty about PTSD and the use of MedMar is indeed very courageous. Thanks for your service to our country.


Jade June 12, 2007 5:54 pm (Pacific time)

speaking from someone who has seen both your ups and downs, nick, i am so happy to see you using your life in such a positive manner. im glad i know you because you inspire me daily. love you.


Nick B. June 12, 2007 2:53 pm (Pacific time)

Just want to say thank you to everybody. It is very heart warming to me reading your comments, and seeing that there is support out there. This experience may have changed my life, but it is moments such as this that make me think and feel for the better. Helping turn a negative into a positive, not only for me, but hopefully it will for others too. THANK YOU SO MUCH! :)


Dick June 12, 2007 8:49 am (Pacific time)

To Nick, My era was a bit earlier than yours...the circumstances a bit different (I was a field grunt) during Viet Nam. On 7, January 1968 I was one of many guys caught in a battalion sized NVA ambush. Many died right there, I got dinged up enough to spend almost two years in the hospital. After more than 30 years of a life that ran from OK to a disaster I was diagnosed with PTSD. I agree that things have not been the same the meds I am on have basically changed me from what I was to what I am now (not good). The VA, likewise, seems to be trying to help, but right now it is not too cool in my life. major depression, anxiety, and all the rest of the garbage. I also "smoke em when I got em" and I to find some relief. At 62 yrs. old my life is largely behind me and yours is still ahead. I am glad that you are back and wish you nothing but good luck from here on out. Keep doing what works for you bro! I am now stuck on prescribed medication that I feel is destroying me. I wish you better luck. Oh yeah, we other combat guys do give a damn!


S.LaMarche.; June 11, 2007 7:50 pm (Pacific time)

to Nicholas Burgin, Welcome Homeome brother, you are not alone, I haven't slept w/o nightmares of vearious intensity since 1968, and marijuana has made it quieter, like you described, I was with Golf Co. 2/3, 67-68, medivacked "home" and eventually medically discharged after a lot of trouble. Reading your story gave me the "elaphant shakes" and tears started falling automatically. It took guts to do what you did and tell your story. The dickheads who administer these wars (male and female) haven't got a clue,so smoke on bro! the edible forms are also very effective. We give a damn and you keep in touch. Over 60,000 returned Viet Nam vets committed suicide.., Don't let this go on and don't think you are nothing. There is a life out there. Semper Fi.


Anonymous June 11, 2007 5:20 pm (Pacific time)

Imagine the nerve of everyone, seeking a harmless herb to aid countless problems going far beyond healthcare. It could put the pharmaceutical firms out of business! If we turned to alcohol or hemp for fuel, we would not be able to pollute the same way, can't have that. If we let people who grow pot out of prisons, more parents who never raised their hand to anyone in anger would be with their kids, and we sure don't want that to happen if we want to keep our corrections system busy and full of money and corruption. So, right, keep it illegal so that we are a fully corrupt nation. On a serious note, God bless this Marine for the sacrifice he offered, I think he needs a lot of thanks and I hope he is able to find the good things in life. He is one more veteran who needs the love and support of his friends and countrymen, you have it from me Nicholas.


Jay June 11, 2007 9:13 am (Pacific time)

Right on Barry. It's much harder on society to not be able to easily discriminate against others. How frustrating for them to have their friends, neighbors, kids, parents and even spouses turning to MJ instead of the drugs they've allowed themselves to become addicted to. Sick isn't it? Yeah...keep up the good work everybody!


Krafty June 11, 2007 8:21 am (Pacific time)

Hate to say I told you so,but...............Right onBarry the truthSHALL set you free


Barry June 11, 2007 7:24 am (Pacific time)

Furthermore, pot smokers are sneaky, back in the sixties it was easy to spot a stoner. They have tossed the tie-dyeds and the Cheech and Chong personas. Today, stoners look and act just like real people, but don't be fooled. Imagine what would happen to "our economy" if sick people had access to free medicine that does not cause anal leakage, addiction, migraines, nausea, vomitting, itchy rashes, and halitosis as side effects. We are a capitalistic society, if we can't squeeze every penny from the suffering of others then we risk losing our national identity, not to mention those poor drug companies.


Barry June 11, 2007 6:30 am (Pacific time)

Don't you know how dangerous marijuana can be. It is one of the worlds most dangerous drugs. Sure, nobody has ever died from it, but many have lost their freedom, their property, and large sums of money. Besides, we don't want Americans thinking on there own, since Americans are manipulated by their anxieties, removing them could have catastrophic consequenses to the fabric of our society. See how bad drugs can be?

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