According to the 2007 documentary Gulf War Syndrome: Killing Our Own, 400,000 veterans have been affected with Gulf War Syndrome, an illness which includes a long list of symptoms such as: fatigue, persistent headaches, muscle aches/pains, neurological symptoms, cognitive dysfunction, depression, anxiety, insomnia, skin rashes, unusual hair loss, bronchitis, and more. Gulf War Syndrome affected over half of the soldiers who returned home from The Gulf War, but those soldiers were denied treatment. A PR campaign was designed to confuse scientists and make the public believe that the symptoms veterans were experiencing were stress induced and similar to PTSD. During The Gulf Wars, soldiers were given chemical suits for protection; however, those same suits were determined to be ineffective in 1988.
What causes Gulf War Syndrome?
The cause of Gulf War Syndrome has been linked to exposure to depleted uranium, according to Gulf War Syndrome: Killing Our Own. It has been used by America’s military in making projectiles for many things including tank guns and rotary cannons for airplanes. Uranium is denser than lead and makes more effective weapons, but the problem with depleted uranium is that it’s extremely unpredictable. It is autopyrophoric, meaning that in the presence of water and oxygen it can spontaneously combust at room temperature. Depleted uranium is also an emitter of alpha particles. When it ignites, atomic particles of depleted uranium are released which are then left in dust particles for organisms to inhale and exhale. With the half life of uranium oxide being 15 years in humans and its ability to strongly bind to DNA, it is very harmful.
What are the symptoms of Gulf War Syndrome?
**Neurological Symptoms - e.g. tingling and numbness in limbs
**Cognitive Dysfunction - short term memory loss, poor concentration, inability to take in information
**Mood and Sleep Disturbances - Depression, anxiety, insomnia
**Dermatological Symptoms - Skin rashes, unusual hair loss
**Respiratory Symptoms - Persistent coughing, bronchitis, asthma
**Gastrointestinal Symptoms - Diarrhea, constipation, nausea, bloating.
Can cannabis help with the symptoms of Gulf War Syndrome?
The most common symptoms associated with Gulf War Syndrome are fatigue, anxiety, fibromyalgia like symptoms, pain, and inflammation. According to Leafly, strains that have been known to alleviate these symptoms include OG Kush, Sour Diesel, Blue Dream, Girl Scout Cookies, and Green Crack. Terpenes are the organic hydrocarbons found in cannabis that give each strain its specific taste and smell. One of the six main terpenes found in cannabis, humulene has a woody, earthy scent and anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, and pain relieving properties. Another terpene, limonene, has a citrus aroma and not only aids in elevating mood, but also has anti-depressant, anti-anxiety, and gastric reflux medical benefits. Combining the attributes of each terpene would have the most potential to alleviate most of the symptoms associated with Gulf War Syndrome. One strain that is known to have both humulene and limonene is OG Kush. OG Kush is considered a hybrid, an even blend of both sativa and indica, providing a cerebral buzz complemented with a relaxing body high. If you or someone you know is suffering from Gulf War Syndrome, come speak with one of our cannabis consultants about potential treatment options!
The Environmental Illness Resource: Gulf War Syndrome
Gulf War Syndrome and the Army's Depleted Uranium Training Videos
Gulf War to Iraq War Timeline
Leafly- OG Kush
What Are Cannabis Terpenes and How Do They Affect You?
Gulf War Syndrome: Killing Our Own Documentary