03/16/2014 02:55 EDT | Updated 05/16/2014 05:59 EDT

Vet fighting to provide medical pot for others with PTSD

A Canadian Army veteran plans to help other veterans cope with post-traumatic stress disorder by helping them get medical marijuana.

Fabian Henry is president and founder of Veterans Helping Veterans: Marijuana for Trauma Inc. which is a consultation service to help veterans register for legal supplies of marijuana from a licensed producer in Ontario.

"I need a medical diagnosis from a healthcare practitioner and I can take care of the rest," he said.

Henry is opening his consultation business just down the road from the Canadian Army base in Oromocto.

He said marijuana has helped him deal with his own PTSD symptoms.

A 12-year veteran of the Canadian Forces, with six deployments under his belt, Henry developed PTSD during a second tour in Afghanistan.

After receiving a medical discharge from the Canadian military, he found marijuana helped him deal with his condition.

"Understanding that you have to process your trauma. Marijuana's just a tool. All the opiates and all the alcohol and all the prescription medications don't allow you to process the trauma — it didn't work. When I got off them all and just used cannabis, I could start understanding my trauma," he said.

Henry wants to help other veterans with PTSD.

Henry said he's already helping more than 50 veterans register for medical marijuana and his phone keeps ringing.

"The demand is off the charts. I can't keep up right now at this point, it's so busy. Guys are calling me from the other side of the country and back, saying ‘Please help me.’ And I'm going to help every single one of them," he said.

Henry is one of eight applicants from New Brunswick — and 450 across the country — seeking production licences from Health Canada.

He plans to grow his marijuana in a secure building at a nearby industrial park.

Psychologist Joan Wright of Fredericton has about 20 clients who are veterans with PTSD. Some use medical marijuana.

"The medical marijuana is enough to calm down the nervous system so they can begin to sit in the present and evaluate what they need from the present — as opposed to being stuck in the past, feeling like they're unsafe," she said.

Dr. Doug Smith specializes in physical medicine and rehabilitation. He has about 400 patients taking medical marijuana for a range of conditions.

“It is a very safe medication,” said Smith.

"I have seen many come off all of their opioid medications, that's medications like Oxycontin, Dilaudid, morphine. I have seen many return to productive lives full-time."

For Henry, marijuana is a medication that allows him to lead a full life. He wants other veterans with PTSD to have the same choice.