ABOUT CATRENA ALMONTE
CANNABIS SCIENTIST AND ADVOCATE.
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I am currently a graduate student in the University of Maryland’s School of Pharmacy program in Cannabis Science and Therapeutics. This is the first accredited program in the country dedicated to the science of cannabis from a scientific, clinical and therapeutic perspective. This program provides students with the knowledge needed to support patients and the medical cannabis industry, add to existing research, and develop well-informed medical cannabis policy . Program addresses the areas of basic science, clinical use, adverse effects and public health, and federal and state laws and policies surrounding medical cannabis .
As a former Chaplain Candidate within the Rhode Island National Guard I held certifications in a number of programs that are suited to enhance interpersonal, social, and communicative skills for Soldiers that have been impacted by numerous wars including to mitigate Post Traumatic Stress Disorders (PTSD) and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI ) characteristics experienced by military personnel during the following wars: Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF), Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF), Operation New Dawn (OND), and Global War on Terrorism (GWOT). These certifications included: Active Military Family Trainer, Certified Strong Bonds Trainer as well as Applied Suicide Intervention and Skills Training (ASIST) certified. Divinity studies allowed me to treat Soldiers from a Pastoral Care perspective. Yet, this was not enough care and treatments for veterans to eradicate PTSD symptomologies. I watched helplessly as our veterans plagued with PTSD commit suicide in record numbers nationally. Chaplains and Doctors are simply not enough to win against PTSD. However, promising research has shown how cannabinoids can successfully manage core PTSD symptomology (re-experiencing trauma, avoidance and numbing, and hyperarousal) by producing a wide range of central nervous effects including increased pleasure and alteration of memory processes .
I have been accepted into the The Chicago School of Professional Psychology-DC Campus Fall 21 cohort, to begin studying Clinical Psychology. My professional goal is to become a clinical psychologist well versed in both pharmacological treatments and cannabinoid therapeutic treatment modalities for patients.
 Betthauser K, Pilz J, Vollmer LE. Use and effects of cannabinoids in military veterans with posttraumatic stress disorder. American Journal of Health-System Pharmacy. 2015;72(15):1279-1284. doi:10.2146/ajhp140523.
 News Center. News Center " SOP Launches Nation's First Master's in Medical Cannabis Science and Therapeutics. https://news.pharmacy.umaryland.edu/sop-launches-nations-first-masters-in-medical-cannabis-science-and-therapeutics/. Accessed September 18, 2019.
Advocacy for cannabis is necessary as federal laws remain stiff on its labeling cannabis as a schedule 1 drug. Now more than ever people should be made aware of healing quality of cannabis and all of the wellness opportunities the plant offers.
With more than 100 strains of cannabis existing and so little knowledge of the impact of cannabis' true potential on the body's Endocannabinoid system, there exists so many opportunities to combine research and education on how we can incorporate this plant into our lives.
From Enlisted to Officer, Aviation Ordnance Corps to Chaplain Corps, Active duty to Reserves, my 16 years of service has covered it. Each unit is different, each branch of the military is different-- yet, I became versed in each setting as I grew and matured with my career. As a veteran my passion is other veterans and our plight with PTSD. I want us to become better as we better understand this condition and hopefully, legislation begins to change regarding the status of cannabis being a schedule 1 drug.
"For every ailment of anxiety, stress, spasm, and unrest--there is a cannabis strain and cannabinoid therapy opportunity, just waiting to pair with that condition in order to bring relief, healing and restoration. Just ask the millions of people that have tried the hundreds of cannabis compounds and found cannabinoid assistance to bring complete alleviation of pain, insomnia and anxiety in some and ---for others provided significant relief as formidable treatment options for Parkinson's disease and Multiple Sclerosis. I am convinced it is the healing plant of the future."
- Catrena Almonte -