For wounded veteran, medical marijuana’s been a godsend

July 24th, 2011 by admin Leave a reply »

Posted: 12:00 AM
Updated: 9:31 PM

For wounded veteran, medical marijuana’s been a godsend

‘My mood’s stable now,’ says Ryan Begin of Jackman, who fought in Iraq

By Michael Shepherd
Staff Writer

AUGUSTA — Ryan Begin was checking a report of an improvised explosive device in Iskandariya, Iraq, on Aug. 1, 2004.

TREATMENT: Ryan Begin, of Jackman, uses marijuana for medicinal purposes. He buys his medicine in the form of buds and a liquid tincture from a caregiver.

Staff photo by Joe Phelan

Then the U.S. Marine Corps corporal saw one. It detonated, blowing apart his right arm.

More than 30 surgeries later, Begin said he has regained some use of his arm. But the psychological damage has taken a harsher toll, including drug addiction and violence.

Begin told doctors in federal health centers high-grade medical marijuana was his only hope for tamping down the innumerable nightmares, flashbacks and fears that followed him from the battlefield.

“My mood’s stable now — no peaks and valleys, just stable ups and downs,” he said.

His mother, Anna — “a little bit apprehensive” about medical marijuana at first — is a believer.

“When he started the marijuana, it was like having my son back,” she said.

Doctors in the federal veterans’ health care system aren’t

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