Denver veterans use art and marijuana to treat PTSD

DENVER - Military veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder are trying a non-traditional approach to their condition and it involves pot and paintbrushes. 

Puff, Pass, and Paint is 420 friendly and its founder, Denver-based artist Heidi Keyes says the 2-hour sessions are a great way to unwind and even help military veterans. Keyes teaches these small classes out of her home studio, which allows her to operate without any legal trouble.

"You can follow along with my instruction or if you're feeling inspired, you can do your own thing as well, and partake in cannabis at the same timel" says Keyes. 

Most of the artists do, like former Marine and cannabis activist Sean Azzariti.

"Using cannabis and having art as an outlet has helped me tremendously," says Azzariti.

Azzariti spent 6 years in the military, deployed twice to Iraq, and says medical marijuana saved his life.

"I was being prescribed to take 12 pills a day to help with my PTSD," said the former Marine. "Cannabis made it so I don't have to take any of that."

The Veteran's Health Administration says vets who use cannabis cannot be denied VHA services, but they do want to know what vets are taking.

According the their website, "The decisions to modify treatment plans in those situations need to be made by individual providers in partnership with their patients." 

Keyes says veterans who participate in the art classes are responsible for bringing their own marijuana and insists she started the class as a way to thank those who served.

"I wanted to be able to do something wher I was giving back to the community," says Keyes.

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