This Disabled Veteran Turned His Life Around Thanks To Cannabis

How Cannabis Helped Him Eliminate His Chronic Pain

When veterans return from war, they often find themselves facing new battles back at home. In countless cases, returning soldiers face psychological trauma, physical disabilities, and severe pain.

For one Scottish soldier, it seemed like nothing would ever quell his pain – that is until he tried sprayable cannabis.

Andy McIntosh, 48, is a disabled ex-Army corporal from Strathaven, a historic market town in Lanarkshire, Scotland. McIntosh spent nearly 15 years in the army, serving in Northern Ireland, Bosnia, and Iraq. Though he left the army in 2004, he has stayed involved, participating in fundraisers for veterans and embarking on a scooter challenge.

Despite his continued support of the army, the ex-corporal’s experience didn’t come with a happy ending. Four years after leaving the Cheshire Regiment, McIntosh became disabled following a corrective surgery – he was diagnosed with a rare vascular disorder that affects the function of his legs.

Hoping not to spend the rest of his life in a mobility scooter, he agreed to undergo what should have been a life-changing operation six years after the diagnosis. Days before the surgery, he was told by surgeons that he would not survive if the surgery took place.

McIntosh says he’s lived with excruciating chronic pain in his lower limbs since then.

“The pain was like someone stabbing knives into my legs all day long,” he told the Daily Record. “It was nearly impossible to live with.”

Cannabis To The Rescue?

McIntosh, a father of two, tried a handful of treatments and medications, but nothing seemed to work.

“I’ve been in excruciating pain for years, and took large doses of both fast and slow-acting morphine, as well as ketamine,” he says. “But these didn’t really help and led to other conditions, such as my lung collapsing.”

He eventually found something that treated his pain far better than anything else: cannabis. McIntosh sprays a liquid form of cannabis under his tongue, and he says things are finally looking up.

“I’m off morphine and coming to the end of my time on ketamine. It has been a life-changer for me and my family.”

Still, the process of getting prescribed cannabis has been a tough battle for McIntosh. In the United Kingdom, medicinal cannabis was legalized in 2018, but it must be legally prescribed a registered specialized doctor – and this process can be very challenging.

“When I first asked about cannabis, I was knocked back,” McIntosh says. “It was only prescribed after I rattled a lot of cages.”

McIntosh hopes that more patients with chronic pain will see the light and fight for a cannabis prescription.

“I had to battle to be prescribed cannabis. Others who maybe aren’t as pushy as I am, are probably suffering in silence. It’s important we try to get the drug to those people who need it most. No one in a modern society should be forced to live in pain.”