Deep within the walls of Fairwinds Manufacturing, where cannabis grows in highly sophisticated, computer-controlled ‘clean rooms,’ a team of scientists is developing breakthrough cannabis-based wellness products. Using in-house chemical analysis and DNA sequencing, they’re able to isolate specific cannabinoids and terpenes, and produce plants that can target precise symptoms. Their latest product, a blue capsule called PTSFree, is a new treatment for PTSD—a condition that, according to the National Center for PTSD, affects seven to eight percent of Americans.
PTSD is a combination of symptoms that can develop in anyone—military or civilian—after experiencing severe trauma. These symptoms—anxiety, hyper-vigilance, irritability, sleep disorders and even digestive problems—are all treatable with cannabis, given the proper research and development. For Fairwinds owner, James Hull, conducting clinical studies of PTSFree would be essential to its success, and for this, he reached out to veterans—the most well-known, defined group living with PTSD, who often seek alternative treatment outside of pharmaceuticals.
“These herbs are life-changing in and of themselves. The cannabis is life-changing. The two together put this on another level—it’s not just pot in a pill,” says Hull.
Fairwinds contacted Brittany Hamilton, executive director of Operation Ward 57, an award-winning nonprofit that helps veterans with PTSD. She’s seen many people who live with PTSD suffer from the side effects of drugs like Klonopin, Xanax and Prozac. “They end up feeling like zombies—numbed—not to mention the added side effects that come from combining a gazillion medications. They want to get away from that, and from not having control over their bodies,” says Hamilton.
Because of this, some veterans decline prescriptions altogether, as in the case of Deidra Dejiacomo, who served fifteen years in the Marine Corps and the US Army, including two tours in Iraq, and one in Afghanistan as a Kiowa Warrior Helicopter Pilot. “I’ve seen so many different forms of PTSD, from mild to severe—we’re all affected differently,” she says. “For me, it’s nightmares, restless nights, and overwhelming stress. Some days it feels like the weight of the world is on my shoulders and I’m suffocating. Other days it’s a sadness that I can’t shake off.” Seeking an alternative to harmful prescriptions, she joined the Fairwinds’ PTSFree trial, and immediately found relief. “I didn’t feel high. I felt very much in control and relaxed. The best way to describe it, is as a sense of calmness.”
Like Dejiacomo, many who live with PTSD have never used any form of cannabis before, and hesitate to try something like PTSFree because they’re worried about ‘getting high.’ This concern drove much of Fairwinds’ research, which led to a combination of terpenes and cannabinoids from Remedy and Amrita strains, and—unique to the industry—other medicinal herbs, like ashwagandha (Indian ginseng) and theanine. The result is a formula that can relieve PTSD symptoms with little to no psychoactive effect.
This formula was created by Max Goldman, a chemist with twenty years of experience in Indian Ayurvedic and Chinese herbal medicine. He approached the problem from different perspectives on health, the human body and life itself. “Herbal medicine is very abstract—yin/yang, hot/cold, fire/water. These concepts allow you to see the body as a whole.” Goldman says. “Common antidepressants treat symptoms, but they don’t heal and repair the nervous system. Here, we look to strengthen weaknesses and nourish deficiencies.”
“These herbs are life-changing in and of themselves. The cannabis is life-changing. The two together put this on another level—it’s not just pot in a pill,” says Hull. He and the team get a lot of satisfaction from helping people. “One of the most amazing things about this business,” he says, “is that we all feel like we’re on a mission. These products are so effective, so life-changing. People call crying, saying ‘You have changed my life!’”