The Apothecarium

Veterans, Cannabis, and Horticultural Therapy


Have you heard about Horticultural Therapy? Did you know that this healing therapy is still being used to help and empower our veterans? Are you aware there are friendly bacteria in soil that behave as an antidepressant?  In this article, you’ll learn about the therapeutic importance of cannabis from both a horticultural and charitable perspective and why it’s important to support companies that facilitate Compassion Programs.


What is Horticultural Therapy?

Horticultural therapy was historically used in the 1940s and 1950s with servicemen returning from World War I and World War II as an opportunity for stress reduction, exercise and learning. The therapeutic garden is a plant-dominated environment designed to facilitate interaction with the healing elements of nature. There are many subtypes, including such as rehabilitation gardens and enabling gardens that can be used for either passive or active interactions depending on what users need them for specifically. Horticultural Therapy has also been used with other groups that can benefit from this rich practice: children, the elderly and those dealing with addiction, mental health problems or any other type of trauma. Dr. Benjamin Rush, “the Father of American Psychiatry” and a signer of the Declaration of Independence, was the first to document the mental benefits of gardening in 1812. In 1879, Friends Hospital in Philadelphia was the first American hospital to build a greenhouse used for rehabilitation. A little-known fact: we have cultivators in the cannabis space that continue this practice today to assist recovery for our veterans in the cannabis garden.


Soil is Good For Us!

Earth and its soil are more than just dirt. Soil is a living ecosystem with friendly bacteria that can help people feel better about themselves! Research from Bristol University and University College London has shown that the bacteria Mycobacterium vaccae mirrors the effect on neurons that drugs like Prozac provide. These microbes found in soil stimulate serotonin production which makes us relaxed and happier- it may also help facilitate an improvement in learning! Getting your hands in some soil while taking in the fresh air and sunshine is a great combination for chasing away the blues.


The Legacy of Plant Power

The power of plants has long been recognized for their therapeutic qualities. A company that is continuing this holistic healing practice is Santa Cruz Veterans Alliance. Their farm is more than just cultivating clean and consistent quality flowers; they also look at cannabis as an influential therapeutic tool that can help vets heal from PTSD or other mental health issues. Bringing a veteran into the cannabis garden teaches skills, provides community, allows intimate knowledge of the plant and creates a peaceful environment –a place where they can feel at home again after having experienced trauma. Veteran farmers in turn, bring invaluable skills learned in the military to SC Veteran Alliance’s gardens. Attention to detail, problem-solving and integrity are just a few of those skills and are the basis for their motto Grown With Honor.


Compassion Programs for Community Support

Cannabis is not just for recreational use. Cannabis has many medical benefits and can be used to reduce the symptoms of PTSD, depression, anxiety, chronic pain in veterans suffering from injury or illness. Compassion programs are in-kind donation programs created to support our most critically ill population through subsidizing a portion of their medical cannabis needs through providing free cannabis products. SC Veterans Alliance has a passion for service, and they are actively looking to help veterans in need. Every purchase of SC Veterans Alliance products helps them provide free cannabis to veterans through their compassion program. They also are a generous donation partner to The Apothecarium’s Compassion Program, which helps support our critically and chronically ill community members in Northern California. Another little-known fact about SC Veterans Alliance was that in conjunction with other community partners, they were a huge part of the lobbying effort to create and pass the Dennis Peron and Brownie Mary Act. This Act allows the creation and implementation of programs in California that give donations of free cannabis to critically and chronically ill medical cannabis patients. Their goal is to create a place for veterans to speak about their combat experiences and the benefits of cannabis, especially as it relates to the traumas of war.


Products and Cultivars

SC Veterans Alliance has been proudly featured on our menu for quite some time. We carry their flowers, pre-rolls and concentrates. They have several cultivars known for their outstanding aroma and flavor. If you like something uplifting and cerebral, try their Super Sour Diesel, which is always a sought-after favorite. And if you’re an Indica fan, you must check out their Kosher Kush. It’s got a great heavy body feel perfect for end-of-day relaxation. For those that love cookies genetics, their fragrant Combat Cookies are not to be missed! If you haven’t given them a try, pick some up next time you come to visit us. If you have enjoyed them in the past, feel good in knowing that your purchase is helping to support our vets in their healing process. 



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