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Bryan Buckley President and CEO of HVGC – Interview Series

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The suicide rate among war veterans is 30 for every 10,000; that of civilians is 14 for every 10,000. 

“There is a complex challenge facing our nation’s veterans: a striking number are taking their lives. The medical care offered through standard treatment facilities is based on opiate-based substances that are addictive. Hence, most veterans find themselves stagnated and not able to engage meaningfully in the community nor achieve economic growth.”

Bryan Buckley-100% disabled war veteran

The U.S is home to about 17 million war veterans. Unfortunately, most veterans' daily existence is a far cry from the peace and prosperity that they had hoped for as they returned home as proud patriots and national heroes. The party ended as soon as it had just started; the effort to be integrated back into society was never to bear any fruits.

War veterans are forced to live in constant pain. Many are not able to find meaningful engagement due to physical, emotional, and psychological disabilities.  The government’s effort to offer opioid medication to numb their pain has only served to fuel the opioid addiction crisis that is now an epidemic in the U.S.

A study that was conducted by Sharp Decisions’ V.E.T.S. ™ Program in 2021 showed that most Americans are unaware of the daily challenges faced by war veterans. The plight of war veterans needs to be addressed with the urgency that it deserves. And who is better placed to give an insider view of how cannabis can help war veterans lead a productive life than a war veteran himself?

We spoke to Bryan Buckley, a veteran who is passionate about how cannabis can be used to bring healing to the thousands of war veterans suffering from the post-war-syndrome. We gained several insights from this interview that we now want to share with you.

Meet Bryan

Bryan is a graduate of Villanova University. His credentials include a distinguished background in leadership, policy, training, management, operations, and strategic decision-making.

As a Special Operations Team Commander with Marine Raiders, Bryan led multiple teams in deployments to Operation Enduring Freedom-Trans Sahara (Africa), South East Asia, and Operation Enduring Freedom-Afghanistan (Helmand Province).

In this role, Bryan developed a rapport with numerous host nation forces, enhanced capability, and capacity within the host nation units, and briefed US Ambassadors. Additionally, he led a 20 man Marine Raider Team to Afghanistan that mentored, trained, and conducted over 40 combat operations with an Afghan Special Operations Battalion. Bryan was also deployed twice to Operation Iraqi Freedom with Marine Infantry and Marine Reconnaissance.

You have a moving story about how you found yourself in cannabis; can you shed more light on the opioid and suicide epidemic and why this is close to your heart?

I am a 100% disabled veteran. I have been wounded in combat and also suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). A miracle happened when I first consumed cannabis; it was the first time in years that I was able to have a full night of sleep. My mind was finally at peace. During combat operations from 2001-to 2021, we lost over 7,069 military members in combat. We lost nearly 31,000 active-duty soldiers and veterans from suicide.

Statistically, it is more dangerous for us to be back in the United States than on the battlefield.

Veterans have been looking at the government to provide lasting solutions to their plight. I was just tired of waiting and wanted to find a solution by providing data-driven results on the benefits of cannabis. I believe that we will do so and this is the most important mission that I have ever been on.

You are big on cannabis research, how has the journey been so far?

The journey has been difficult. We are working on funding the research. We feel that we are close to accomplishing that, and then the study will move relatively quickly. If anyone would like to help our cause, please donate to Battle Brothers Foundation.

You tend to blend both recreational and medicinal cannabis. How do the two markets compare and why did you decide on this model?

The idea for the adult-use/recreational market came from a Paul Newman Salad Dressing: “100% of profits to charity.” We knew our research would be expensive and getting any traditional funding would be challenging due to it being cannabis. So we thought, let's put our money where our mouth is and launch an adult brand with 100% of profits going to fund our research. In terms of the medical side, we listened to our veterans and what type of cannabis and cannabis products work best for them. We will not make any medical claims on them, this is strictly word of mouth about what has been best for our heroes.

Many people are skeptical about vaping cannabis. What’s the one “quality assurance” feature that customers should look for in a cannabis vape product?

There was not one incident in a legal cannabis dispensary in the state of California that reported any issues during the infamous “Vape Gate” crisis of 2020. To ensure that you know exactly what you are putting into your body, go to a licensed cannabis dispensary and/or delivery company. Each product that is on the shelf/inventory has completed third-party state testing.

 A quick way to ensure that the cannabis oil inside the cart has not been cut with something else, flip it upside down. There is usually an air bubble at the top of the cart. If you see the oil start to move, it has been cut. Distillate oil will move, but it takes minutes, not seconds, like a cut version.

What is the Battle Brothers Foundation all about? 

There is a complex challenge facing our nation’s veterans: a striking number are taking their lives. The medical care offered through standard treatment facilities is based on opiate-based substances that are addictive. Hence, most veterans find themselves stagnating and not able to engage meaningfully in the community or achieve economic growth.

Concerned for our own, the Battle Brothers Foundation strives to address these issues using a threefold approach.

  • Personal: Battle Brothers Foundation places veterans in individual and community-based mentorship programs as a pillar for personal development. These veterans are assigned a Battle-Brother and participate in our one-on-one mentorship programs, with the intent of personal and community bonding accelerating their individual development and growth.
  • Medical: Battle Brothers Foundation supports non-opiate-based treatment methodologies for both physical and psychological injuries related to military combat and service including Post Traumatic Stress, Traumatic Brain Injury, opiate abuse, alcoholism, acute pain, and trauma.
  • Economic: Battle Brothers Believes in dignity through labor and paving the way for economic growth through apprenticeship trade programs in burgeoning positions in American industry. We help place veterans at the forefront of financial growth sectors as a mechanism for economic growth and personal upward mobility. We have accomplished this by placing qualified veterans in 2-year apprenticeship-training programs that pay an average of $45,000/year (location dependent), replicable on a national scale.

What’s next for HVGC? 

There is a lot of exciting news coming in 2022. We are going to continue to create new products for HVGC, an HVGC clothing line, and we are exploring having HVGC available in another state besides California by the end of this year. As always, all hands are on deck to ensure our first medical cannabis research study is completed by the end of 2022 as well.

About Battle Brothers Foundation

Founded in 2016 by U.S. Special Operations Marine Raider, Bryan Buckley, Battle Brothers Foundation is a 501c3 charitable organization that empowers veterans through community-based personal development, economic upward mobility, and progressive medical treatments to better their lives and the lives of their families. The organization is currently looking for people striving to make a difference in a veteran’s life by pledging a donation or joining their team of volunteers.

About Helmand Valley Growers Company

HVGC was founded by United States Special Operations Veterans (Marine Raiders). Since its inception, HVGC has been in discussions with some of the cannabis industry’s top researchers and has developed a veteran-based protocol to effectively prove the benefits of medical cannabis. HVGC is developing medical cannabis-based solutions to address symptoms of PTSD, the opioid and suicide epidemic that plague U.S. veterans, and society as a whole. In coordination with Battle Brothers Foundation, 100% of HVGC’s profits goes toward medical cannabis research.

 

Thank you for the great interview, cannabis research is needed now more than ever, I’m happy to see that you are leading the path forward. Readers who wish to learn more should visit HVGC.

Lydia K. (Bsc. RN) is a cannabis writer, which, considering where you’re reading this, makes perfect sense. Currently, she is a regular writer for Mace Media. In the past, she has written for MyBud, RX Leaf & Dine Magazine (Canada), CBDShopy (UK) and Cannavalate & Pharmadiol (Australia). She is best known for writing epic news articles and medical pieces. Occasionally, she deviates from news and science and creates humorous articles. And boy doesn't she love that! She equally enjoys ice cream, as should all right-thinking people.