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How Cannabis Helped Navy Veteran

Many Veterans struggle re-entering civilian life once they retire from the military. We’ve seen firsthand how much cannabis has helped Veterans ease their way back into the groove of their daily routine. This week we had the honor of interviewing Clipper Chris Jones, President of Operation Tattooing Freedom. He also served in the Navy as a Master At Arms for 20 years and retired as an E6.

How long have you been with OTF? Why did you join the OTF team, and why do you love being a part of the organization?

I have been with operation tattooing freedom since 2017. I found out about them through another artist I know. I was stationed in Japan when I found out about them. I contacted Lewis Hunt and got more info and immediately wanted to be a part of it. Now that I have been a part of OTF for 4 years and was made president last October, I have enjoyed being around other vets and helping my veteran brothers and sisters get through some of their dark times. 

What is something you struggled with during your transition into civilian life?

My biggest struggle transitioning to civilian life actually didn’t really start until about 6 months after I got out. I was tattooing for 8 years while on active duty. So when I first retired, it was like nothing changed except not going to the base every day. But now that I have been out since September last year, it’s been really starting to hit me that I am out. I struggle with the emptiness of not having that team mentality. Feeling like what I do now isn’t meaningful like it was to serve. There is a definite hole in my soul now that I am not around my military family like I was for my entire adult life. I was 17 when I joined, so I knew nothing else. 

When did you start using cannabis? And why? 

I started using cannabis almost immediately. I had some vet friends and non-vet friends who had told me that I need to try it to help with pain, anxiety, and sleep. So I tried it. I smoked at first but smoking just really isn’t my thing. Then I tried edibles and ointments. LIFE CHANGING!!!

Did you ever use prescription medications to help ease PTSD, anxiety, depression, pain, etc.? If so, how does it differ from cannabis (from your own personal experience)? What were some of your experiences using prescription medications?

I have been prescribed many narcotics and pain killers, anxiety meds, meds for my nightmares, and meds for migraines — More pills than you can imagine. Those things made me numb. I was a shell of myself. I felt like crap when I woke up. I never felt good about myself. It was a dark time for me. 

How has cannabis helped you? 

Cannabis has made my life substantially better. I don’t feel like a shell of myself anymore. I feel better. I’m happier. I’m healthier. I’m in less pain. I sleep so much better. I think once I find the right products for my joints, it will only make it better! 

What would you say to someone who is on the fence about using cannabis? 

If someone is on the fence about using cannabis products, I would ask them this. What’s it gonna hurt? You’re in pain. It helps. You can’t sleep? It helps. You have anxiety? It helps. You’re depressed? It helps. If it has been a miracle for me, it can be for you too. There is virtually no risk with so much reward. So give it a try, and if it’s not for you, then you know. But until you try it and give it a proper chance, then you will never know and could be living a hell of a lot more comfortably.

Clipper Chris Jones, President of Operation Tattooing Freedom


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