Matthew Kahl is a United States combat Veteran and is the executive director of the organization of Veterans for Natural Rights. During our interview, we talk about Matthew’s story and struggles with PTSD, how medical marijuana helps him and others with PTSD symptoms and which strains of medical marijuana are more effective for PTSD treatment. We also discuss his involvement in multiple movements and films, including “From Shock to Awe”.
Matthew Kahl will return as we have much more to discuss and we look forward to following his organization’s progress.
Jesse Lavoie: My name is Jesse Lavoie and I'm running a PTSD awareness campaign with the help of Namaste Technologies. I'm here today with Matthew Kahl. How are you doing today?
Matthew Kahl: Doing good. How are you Jesse?
Jesse Lavoie: I'm good, I'm good. Thank you for taking the time to talk with us today.
Matthew Kahl: Sure thing.
Jesse Lavoie: You mind telling us a little bit about yourself, Matt?
Matthew Kahl: Yeah. My name's Matt Kahl. I'm an infantry veteran. 11 Bravo, US Army, 101st Airborne, for about five, six years or so. It was March of 2007 to December of 2011, and I had two deployments and one medevac during that period of time. I actually got out of the service with a lot of injuries and I have used cannabis and other plant medicines in order to try to heal myself, and founded an organization in order to promote those same interests among other vets, and among the general populous, to tell you the truth. There's a lot of PTSD in the general populous, too. That's always overlooked.
Jesse Lavoie: And I understand you're a part of the organization Veterans For National Rights?
Matthew Kahl: Yeah. I founded Veterans For National Rights when I first met Sue Sisley and I started lobbying with her on PTSD issues, scientific freedom issues, and eventually just general freedom issues. We've lobbied on a lot of different issues, trying to dismantle all the various different aspects of the drug war. The drug war is possibly the greatest infringement on civil liberties in the history of our nation. As an organization dedicated to the national rights of man, we stand up to defend these.
Jesse Lavoie: Sounds like a very interesting organization. What are some of the latest things your organization has done?
Matthew Kahl: Just this year we passed ... Well, we helped pass, we played a small part in it. There was a team of people that pushed through cannabis for PTSD here in Colorado, and back when I first actually met Sue Sisley in December of 2014, that's when I first started out and she was actually seeking 2.1 million dollars from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, for her landmark study. It's triple blind, the highest clinical stringency, and it's going to examine how three different cannabis products affect PTSD in veterans. She was seeking that money from the CDPHE and that's where I first got my start, and I came out of the basement and the isolation of my own PTSD.
Later on that same year, went to Washington D.C. We lobbied on the first [inaudible 00:03:31] bill. Unfortunately that didn't pass. At the same time, though, we went and started talking to the ONDCP, the White House ONDCP, and during that meeting actually was the first time I ever pulled a stunt, that some people have called the "pill dropped heard round the world." That's just I have a collection of a lot of the other prescriptions I was on, and sometimes during lobbying efforts, just to show legislators what exactly what the problem is, because they don't have really a good understanding of what we go through. A lot of times, if you show them a gigantic bag of medicine bottles, they're shocked.
They're shocked and amazed that anybody could go through that, and especially when you dump out a significant quantity in front of them and say, "Hey listen, this is what you give up when you try medical cannabis." It's a powerful statement, and that's really when I came up with the idea and I started pulling that stunt. Luckily, I think that what we did there in D.C. that March, March of 2015, it got the public health service review process changed for scientific clinical trials in the United States. It loosened up some of the strictures in order to get Sue Sisley's study underway.
Jesse Lavoie: How far along is her study at the moment?
Matthew Kahl: She's actually just beginning, believe it or not. After we went through all that, she still had a bunch of hoops to jump through. We got the 2.1 million dollars right off the bat in December 2014, and then after that, the public health review process, that was changed or modified slightly by what we did there. But she still had to actually procure the marijuana from NIDA, National Institute of Drug Abuse, and they're the only legitimate source of clinical, quality marijuana in the United States. It's sort of shocking and a little bit funny, when you see what they call clinical quality marijuana. It's basically green dust, and it's infested with molds and pathogens and stuff like that.
It's kind of ridiculous. Sue Sisley, when she got the packages of marijuana from NIDA, she pulled an unprecedented stunt in that she got that marijuana third party tested. That was really shocking and unusual to the scientific community. In fact, that's probably one of the main reasons why Johns Hopkins pulled out, is because of her requirement that she know exactly what her patients were getting. That just wasn't an issue before. Everybody just simply accepted what came from NIDA and believed what they told them, just swallowed it, hook, line, and sinker. What she did is she went out and tested it, and she found 10 times the amount of molds and fungus in the marijuana as was acceptable under any state program.
She also found that the marijuana was testing a couple percent lower than what they had advertised to her, and they advertised it not even as very high potency cannabis. I think it's somewhere in the range of in the low teens for the high THC group, and it's somewhere around 9% for the one to one group. I think it's something like that. That was what they were advertising, but it was testing much lower than that, and that's like a variance that is not acceptable also in civilian research laboratories. NIDA itself was not meeting any of the requirements that commercial entities have to meet right now. They're providing completely virtually unusable marijuana.
The amount of clinical effect that might come from these strains of marijuana that they provided to Sue Sisley, it might be so small that there might not be clinical effect. Honestly, a lot of us have to sit there and wonder, "Is that on purpose? Are they trying to screw the study up?" It certainly seems like it, but they'll protest up and down all day long that they're not trying to slow down research or anything like that, but we know what the federal government's like.
Jesse Lavoie: So obviously if she had access to more quality or better quality marijuana, the study could move faster a lot faster than it is?
Matthew Kahl: Correct, and actually this year, I testified on a bill and it was to establish a new kind of license here in Colorado whereby a company can get a license under a research and development grant, or a research and development license. Then, what they will do is they will produce marijuana in order to use in clinical studies. We tried to address that issue, however, I still don't think, because most national clinical studies are regulated by the federal government and they have to go to a federal IRB institutional review board in order for approval, this may not really truly affect the quality of research done in the United States.
It might affect a few small studies here in Colorado, but really we're just trying to turn the screws, crank up the pressure on the federal government, and let them know that we're not going to back down. We're going to keep fighting for scientific freedom and we're going to keep fighting for the individual rights of people here in America.
Jesse Lavoie: Well, that's a great fight to be fighting.
Matthew Kahl: Yeah. Wouldn't have it any other way.
Jesse Lavoie: Absolutely. What are some of the common symptoms of PTSD or some of the symptoms you've experienced?
Matthew Kahl: Oh, my God. I've had a rough day last ... Well, rough night last night. Sleeplessness is the big one. Anxiety attacks. Sometimes your responses to the emotions that go through you is a little bit paradoxical. Sometimes you can respond with rage. Yeah, nightmares. Sometimes really disturbing stuff. I'm sorry.
Jesse Lavoie: Oh, no it's okay. You take your time. I appreciate you talking about this.
Matthew Kahl: I think really, probably the number one symptom of PTSD that's never talked about is something I had for a very long time, and it's the most debilitating thing that I've had. That was isolation. I isolated myself. I think there was a period of six months to a year where I basically didn't come out of my house. I didn't come out of my bedroom. That harmed me on a level that nothing else ever really did, that isolation from human contact, and pulling away from my family. Really, I guess there's some confounding factors in there, because a lot of these guys that have PTSD, and girls too. They're on a lot of medications.
These medications, they make life not worth living, and you don't want to interact with anybody. You don't want to do anything. You just want to hide, and you want to die. I think that's probably the number one symptom that a lot of people don't talk about with PTSD.
Jesse Lavoie: Well, it's definitely something that should be made aware of. What are the benefits of using medical marijuana as opposed to traditional prescription medication?
Matthew Kahl: Oh boy. Well, when I started using cannabis here in Colorado ... I tried it, actually, back in North Carolina where I come from. I tried it there for the first time since military service, and I took a few puffs and I was just sitting there waiting, and I was waiting, and waiting. I was like, "Come on now. Are you going to do anything?" What happened was sort of surprising. I slipped off into a daydream and I hadn't just done that. I hadn't just daydreamed for years, years. I was just lost in a thought. There was no looking for where the next threat was going to come from, there was no peering out the windows, there was no rage, there was no anxiety. It was just me being lost, musing in a thought, you know?
When I finally actually snapped back into my body, and then the hyper vigilance started up again. I recognized, my brain could recognize that, "Holy crap, man. You just had a goof 5-10 minutes of peace, genuine peace." It remebered that, and wanted to seek that out again. I determined right then that I had to move to Colorado, I had to move to a legal state, and we moved here. Within a week, I had my medical card and I started using med cannabis, but the effects, it seems like it takes a while for it to start having an effect. I mean, it does have an immediate effect, but the benefits continued to manifest themselves over the course of a year and a half, two years. Actually, I mean, I don't know. I would say certain benefits are still manifesting in me, you know? Four years later.
But it allowed me to get off the medications, that's the number one thing. When I got here to Colorado, I asked my VA doctor here, when I switched my care over here to Colorado. I asked my primary care physician, "What do you think about medical marijuana? This is Colorado. Please, I'm just being honest here, man. I just want to talk to you about this thing." To my surprise, he was not dismissive. He wasn't contemptuous. He just said, "Listen, if you haven't tried it yet, you probably should, but I can't give you any opiate narcotics while you're on it." I was like, "That's fine, take me off" because he didn't really know that I had already been using medical marijuana for about a couple weeks, but so I was just like, "Yeah, that's fine. Take me off the opiates."
It was really hard there for a short period of time, but I'll tell you what, I never looked back. It's the best thing I ever did. What that did is it started an avalanche. Every single time I'd go in to see my VA doctor, I'd go down a list of medications, and I was on a ton. Anywhere between 18 and 20 at any given month, and I just started crossing off medications and started marking out dosages, and having them. "Okay, cut me in half on that, get rid of this one, let's go ahead and take me down to a third of this one, how about that?" My doctors got really scared, I think, about how reckless I was being in reducing my medications, but I knew what I was doing. I knew that I had to get off the medications if I was going to be okay in the end, and so I just kept pushing forward, kept pushing forward.
It took me a long time to get off all of those medications, close to a year and a half, and as the medications peeled off these layers of this wall that I had put up in between myself and the world, they started peeling off, too. I started coming alive. I started developing a relationship with my wife, and my kids again. God, my kids. Beautiful kids.
Jesse Lavoie: How many kids do you have?
Matthew Kahl: Two. Two boys, 5 and 10 now.
Jesse Lavoie: I'm sure they're very proud of you.
Matthew Kahl: You know, yeah. I wasn't sure that they were going to be, you know? Dad's a marijuana user. But my oldest son, he just says, "I have my dad back."
Jesse Lavoie: That's fantastic.
Matthew Kahl: Yeah. He's completely turned off by the idea of smoking pot. Nothing that I have done is going to increase the chances that he smokes pot. I mean, the kid is positively aghast at the idea, but he is very interested in it as a treatment for various different [nullities 00:18:35], and for that reason, he always asks me questions. I grow both hemp and marijuana. I grow hemp outdoors in my front yard, and I grow marijuana inside. He's always out there in my hemp garden, and he's asking questions about the plants. He's really interested in it, but he absolutely detests the smell. He's just like, "It stinks. It stinks. I don't like it. It's disgusting." Anyway, yeah. My kids, I've managed to develop a relationship with them again and that just by itself is, that's worth everything. That's worth more than anything to me.
Jesse Lavoie: Absolutely. You had mentioned that you got your medical card when you got to Colorado. What is the current process for a veteran to be approved for medical marijuana?
Matthew Kahl: For medical marijuana, you have to have one of the qualifying conditions. There's a list of qualifying conditions. Colorado's list is actually pretty sparse. There are some other states that have far more qualifying conditions on it than we do, and actually, not a single condition has been added to Colorado's registry since it was established in 2000, except for this year. This year is the first year that we have an added a condition to it, and finally, because of my own actions and the actions of a few other people in this community, PTSD is going to be the next qualified condition in the state of Colorado.
Jesse Lavoie: Congratulations.
Matthew Kahl: Thank you, man. Thanks.
Jesse Lavoie: That's a big step. Are certain strains of medical marijuana more effective than others for treating PTSD?
Matthew Kahl: Yeah, I definitely think so. I was treating a number of different things when I got here. I was treating my injuries and I was treating the PTSD, too. The injuries really, they respond to a variety of different things, but PTSD's kind of, it's a little bit touchy. Guys with a lot of anxiety, there are some very high THC strains, a lot of sativas, and even some indicas to tell you the truth, that will trigger anxiety, and send people into a bit of an episode. When I first got here, it was trial and error, but thankfully I had a bit of a background in neuroscience. I went to school for a few years, took a lot of behavioral and neuroscience classes, and studied a lot of psychopharmacology in my off time, and that gave me a pretty good basis through which to go through all of the various different strains that I was trying, and try to seek the components that were working for me.
I get stuff tested, and terepenes, cannabinoids, and what I found out very quickly was that the very high THC strains weren't really all that good for me. I needed something that maintained the high level of psycho activity that THC had, but I need something that would cut the anxiety a little bit. I know that some people, when they use some of the African strains, like the East African strains that have higher levels of THCV in them, some people actually get more anxious, but some people it has the opposite effect. It actually calms the anxiety while amping up the psycho activity at the same time. That's kind of an unusual combination.
What I found is that's exactly the case for me. I responded to THCV very well, and I started seeking out a lot of East African landraces, things like ... I started out with Durban Poison which is not even really a landrace any more, but I started working my way up the East side of Africa, and I got some Malawi, and then some seeds gathered from Tanzania, and eventually I found an individual that was extremely high in THCV, that I could use for myself. It wasn't particularly high in THC, it was almost a one to one ratio, believe it or not. It was a complete outlier in the population.
It was close to 7% to 7%, which is common. For many landraces, they top out at around 14% total cannabinoids, but that's initially what I stared using for my PTSD, but eventually I found that I needed some other strains, too. I think that honestly most people that are medical marijuana patients, they don't just need one strain. They need a variety of strains. Most everyone that uses cannabinoids as medicine are going to need more than one. I started seeking out CBD strains because I got a hemp license the very next year. The beginning of 2014 was my first year of growing hemp, and I started picking out a lot of high CBD strains, and trying to figure out how to breathe my hemp for higher levels of CBD also.
I eventually got some of my hemp, at least one breeding group, it's up to about 12-13%, but there are some legitimate marijuana strains, which test ... The only difference between temporary and marijuana is the THC level. THC tops out in hemp at .3%, and with marijuana, it goes from .3 to everything, as high as it can go. Hemp is specifically defined as any cannabis plant that has less than .3% THC. It can have any number of cannabinoids in it, but it must have less than .3% THC. Some of the high CBD strains that I was using, R4, my R4 tested at like 18.6 I think, and .8% THC. It was .8% THC, still extremely low, not psychoactive at all, really, but it had extremely high levels of CBD. That really helped me out.
R4 is an actual marijuana plant because it does test above .3% THC, and R4 I tried Charlotte's Web which is the famous strain that little Charlotte Figi here used to help quell her seizures. I tried ACDC, which is about 20% CBD and 1% THC. All of these strains originally were legitimate marijuana strains that tested above .3% I know that Charlotte's Web has since been bred down to a level underneath .3%, and there's a couple other strains that have been bred down. Hayley's Hope is another one that was started and crafted by a guy I know here in Colorado, Jason Cranford. He's helped a lot of kids with it, a lot of kids here. It tests very high in CBD, but it also tests below .3% THC. When you look at the plant honestly, it looks just like marijuana. There's really no difference in the way that it grows its structure, and it's grown in all female plots, too, so that you can maximize the amount of medicine you get.
These strains, they're so similar to marijuana that the only real difference is a legal one, and that's the one that defines it as hemp as anything below .3% THC, and marijuana's anything above. Anyway, that's really where we're going with hemp, breeding hemp, and breeding cannabis in general. I think that eventually these hemp fields that you see around here, they're going to eventually lean more towards the all female type of medicinal hemp, and there's a lot of circles that medicinal hemp is sort of a bad word. Everybody likes medical marijuana, but nobody likes medicinal hemp, and I think it's mainly because it's a competition issue.
Medicinal hemp, if I'm growing a field of 10,000 plants, five acres say, and those 10,000 plants are all female and they're all producing high CBD medication, then it puts a serious dent into the marijuana industry's pocket. I think that in a lot of ways, the marijuana industry is going to start trying to fight the hemp industry, but to tell you the truth, it's a losing battle. Hemp will win out.
Jesse Lavoie: It's interesting. It's like the pharmaceutical companies fighting the medical marijuana industry, and now the medical marijuana industry wants to fight the hemp industry.
Matthew Kahl: Exactly, and it's really, I think it's a losing battle on both fronts. The pharmaceutical industry will lose to medical marijuana. Eventually, medical marijuana will lose to medicinal hemp. The hemp laws are really what marijuana should be grown under, and this is the reason why I harp on natural rights all the time, because for me, one really basic expression of what natural rights means is nature's not a crime. Nothing nature does is a crime, you know? If I can't stick a seed in the ground and watch it grow, I'm not free, period. In America, this is supposed to be the land of freedom. We're supposed to have inalienable rights, natural rights.
To me, the restriction on plant count, the number of plants you can have, the amount of product, not a plant, product you can have on hand. It's all sort of nonsense. It doesn't make any legitimate constitutional sense. We try to stand up for national rights in any way we can, and we are pressing for eventual descheduling, complete descheduling of the cannabis plant, in all of its forms. Not just hemp, but marijuana too, because marijuana is a completely arbitrary and artificial classification. There is no biological classification for marijuana. There's no distinction, it's all cannabis. I think that eventually, the hemp legal model is going to be what all marijuana is grown under.
There's going to be licenses issued, and you can grow as many plants as you want to on a given plot of land. Eventually, that's going to be the only thing that makes the medicine affordable and available, and accessible to every single American in the United States.
Jesse Lavoie: What is your method of using medical marijuana?
Matthew Kahl: Oh, gosh. When I started, I was trying everything. I didn't really have a strategy at first. I just tried carpet bombing with as much stuff as I could, and I just took strain after strain, and I would smoke, I would eat it in baked brownies or other edibles, and I would make oil that I could take in little pills, or just to actually squirt it directly into my mouth. Eventually, I got into extracts. Believe it or not, extracts, commonly known as what you call dabs, they have a bit of a bad reputation in the United States, and it's completely undeserved. People associate dabs with this recreational lifestyle where people are just gobbling up big giant gram dabs and in some ways they're right.
That's a little bit excessive, but it's not my job to regulate their use. I don't really believe it's the law's job to do that, either. But dabs are actually one of the most useful rescue tools that are out there. If you can get somebody to take a dab real quick, when they're in crisis, some kind of crisis. It doesn't matter what kind of crisis. I've seen people doubled over in pain from Crohn's. Crohn's Disease, it's a big issue that a lot of people use cannabis to treat. Crohn's pain can go away almost instantaneously.
Jesse Lavoie: Wow.
Matthew Kahl: You get a dab into somebody and it's like boom, gone. Exactly the same way with many PTSD states. If you are extremely anxious or you're enraged, then if I get a nice one to one extract, something that's 50% THC and 50% CBD, I can calm you down in about a minute and a half flat. Most people. People will take a dab, and they'll still be a very high, amped intensity, and just within a minute or two, you can just feel the energy slipping out of their voice, and you can feel them starting to come back down to earth, and get more grounded, and start talking to you like a human being again.
Jesse Lavoie: That's very interesting.
Matthew Kahl: They can be more [inaudible 00:33:58].
Jesse Lavoie: Have you ever used a vaporizer for your medical marijuana before?
Matthew Kahl: I did. I used that exclusively when I first got here. I didn't smoke marijuana when I first got here, except it was like every once in a while when I didn't have a vaporizer, I would pack a bowl and smoke a bowl, but when I first got here, I used a vaporizer almost exclusively. It was a little model called VapeHere I think and it served me well for a long time, but eventually when I started getting into extracts, extracts are naturally evaporated. When you take a dab or an extract hit off of a water pipe, none of that is actually combusted material. You heat up a surface to a few hundred degrees, and then you drop in a small amount of extract. This amount of extract completely evaporates.
The process of extracting dabs or oils from plants is one in which you get rid of all of the components of a plant that burn, that actually combust. When you torch a lighter to a plant, it's going to burn, but this oil, what it does is it simply evaporates. It turns into a mist which you can barely see, and sometimes you can barely smell, but this is the essential essence of a plant, really. It gives you everything that the plant gives you, without any of the carcinogens, or the particulate matter that can clog your lungs and cause bronchitis or whatever the heck you might be worried about with cannabis. Whatever you might be worried about with cannabis, I guarantee you, we can get around your issues.
Jesse Lavoie: Excellent. I also understand you're part of the film "From Shock to Awe." Can you tell us about this film?
Matthew Kahl: Yeah. Janine Sagert and Luc Côté. Man, they are ... Gosh, they're awesome people. I'm really honored to have been part of the film. They've been enormously helpful. They came up with the idea of "From Shock to Awe," I think it was in 2014 when I first met them. They were just forming the idea then and they wanted to follow veterans who were using cannabis and ayahuasca, and MDMA. At first, I thought I might be part of the cannabis group, because I helped organize the bus trip that went across the United States to go to D.C. Weed for Warriors had a ... It's called The Cannaball Run, and they took a bus from California and they took it to D.C. and they poured out a whole big box of pills in front of the White House, and basically took activism, sort of like I'd been doing for a long time, to a national stage.
Janine and Luc followed that, and they also got into touch with an MDMA researcher here in Colorado, Saj Razvi, with Trauma Dynamics. He was using MDMA to treat various different veterans and other people with PTSD. They followed him for a short period of time and then they took myself and one other veteran, his name is Mike [Cooli 00:38:09], awesome guy. We went to an ayahuasca church and I'm not even sure if I should say where we went to. I don't know, because it was within the United States, but ...
Jesse Lavoie: Oh, no need then.
Matthew Kahl: Me and Mike Cooli went to an ayahuasca church and we undertook ayahuasca for the first time. I've got to say, I sought out ayahuasca because cannabis, I'd been using cannabis for a long time, and I had made great strides. I had made incredible strides towards getting better, but I feel like I had hit a bit of a wall. Like, cannabis just wasn't doing it for me anymore. It wasn't enough to get me back to the way I was, or even better, because I knew I could be better. I sought out ayahuasca. If I was going to change myself, I needed to undergo a transformative experience. Ayahuasca for me, it was that experience that I was looking for.
I don't want to ruin the movie too much, but the very first night, I had an intense release of a lot of emotion that had been tied up for a very long time, with deployment, military service, and getting over it. The following ceremonies afterwards that weekend just solidified everything. Since that time, that occurred I think it was April of last year, 2016. That was my first ayahuasca experience and since that period of time, I think my personal development has really just gone into overdrive. I've started coming out of my shell so much more than even before. I had already come out of my shell considerably before with cannabis. I started lobbying, doing public stuff, trying to do public events, and now it's just overdrive. I live much of my life publicly now, and I try to do it for the benefit of other veterans around me.
My organization, our motto is we build communities of veterans, so that they can heal, find their voice, and then change the world, because we are a political action organization. But the idea is to build these communities, these communities are first. It's the only way that you're going to get a veteran to come out of his basement, to come out of his bedroom, to come out of his bathroom, start integrating into society again. You've got to integrate them with other veterans, and you've got to integrate them with civilians, too. That's really what we need, is we need to be taught how to interact with real society again. We build these communities in which veterans can come to, and they can always have a place that's go to that's not going to judge them, no matter what happens, no matter what kind of bad reaction they have.
Heck, I've had to literally walk outside. I had a vet come into one of my very first events and he walked into my first event and he had a panic attack. He walked outside, I knew he was having a panic attack, I could tell. I've had those before. I walked outside and I was like, "Dude, you all right?" He said, "I just need a minute, man." He was shaking. He was almost about to cry. I just grabbed his hand and held his hand for about a minute. Eventually it got cold outside and he was like, "Okay, man. I'm ready to go back inside. Thanks." It doesn't matter what sort of reaction people have. It doesn't matter whether it's rage. I don't care.
If you want to get mad at somebody, get mad at me. Don't get mad at some of these other civilians. Don't get mad at somebody in the grocery store. Don't do that. Get mad at me. I can take it. I know what's going on in your head. Please, absolutely, take it out on me. I'd rather you do that than any other thing, and then after you're done, and you cool down, come back. Just come back. Come back to the circle. Join the crowd again, because we're not going to judge you. We're not going to care. All we care is that you come out again, and I think that's really been what I rely on for the success of this model, is just these strong community bonds between veterans.
Ian actually is one of the guys who said this for the first time that I remember, and he said the best medicine is veteran love. It's true. It's absolutely true. When you simply give that unconditional love to another human being, another veteran, they respond to it. They come out of their shell. They start seeking you out, they start trying to associate, they start trying to get back into the world again. That love, that unconditional love, it wakes them up inside their soul. It makes them realize, "Holy crap, man. The world out here is not all evil, it's not all bad. It's not all stuff that I need to be afraid of and I need to be looking for threats. There's actually people out here who have my six and that I can count in, at any given time, to drop everything and just be like, 'Hey man. What's wrong, man? What do you need?'"
That's really what the core of Veterans For National Rights is, is creating communities where we can heal. Once people heal, inevitably, they start talking about legalities and why we're not free to use this medication for ourselves, why we're not free to use cannabis, why we're not free to use ayahuasca, why we're not free to use psilocybin mushrooms, why we're not free to use MDMA, why we're not free to use all of these other schedule 1 drugs that just happen to be extremely useful, and far more useful than any pharmaceutical substance that's on the market right now for treating PTSD. All of these drugs are far more potent in their clinical reaction. It's amazing, the sort of transformative experiences that people can have.
Ayahuasca, in some ways, I've heard it said before that ayahuasca can be compared to five years of psychiatric treatment in one night. Imagine having the sort of emotional, deep breakthroughs that you get over the course of five years of treatment, and imagine that happening all in one night.
Jesse Lavoie: Speeds up the process quite a lot, hey?
Matthew Kahl: Yeah. It's sort of like the short ticket to success. I liken it to ... I see a lot of people walking around every day, you know? Everybody in America has decided, they're bellyaching about all the crap that's happened to them in their lives. "Oh, you know, my daddy beat me up and this happened to me when I was young, and blah, blah, blah." We're carrying around all this baggage, all the time, and it's heavy. It's really heavy and people complain about it all the time. They're just bitching and moaning constantly and I think of them as people who are stopping into the grocery store every single day and picking up a bag of groceries, but then they have to work to their 9th floor walk up.
They're just bellyaching and crying the whole way. "My God, these groceries are so heavy. My God. It's so hard to do this every single day. Why do I have to do this every day?" What I liken ayahuasca to is an elevator right by the stairs that they had just never seen before. It's like, "Hey guys, quit bitching. Take the elevator." It's too easy, you know?
Jesse Lavoie: What is the release date for this movie "From Shock to Awe?"
Matthew Kahl: I think it's somewhere around October. I think that is their tentative release. Originally it was next year, but I think they've sped up production, post production. They've got all of the film they really need I think at this point, and they're in post production phases. I think that they're going to try to wrap up around October, somewhere around there, and hopefully we'll start to see screenings domestically at that time.
Jesse Lavoie: I really appreciate you talking to us today. We'd love to meet up again and follow the progress with Veterans For National Rights. Do you have anything else that you want to add today, Matthew?
Matthew Kahl: No. Sorry, I'm a little bit scatterbrain after last night.
Jesse Lavoie: It's completely understandable.
Matthew Kahl: I'll leave the door open. Please, come back and interview me at any time.
Jesse Lavoie: We look forward to that. We at Namaste Technologies are dedicated to helping our veterans. We're offering our veterans discounts on our products and we will be donating a portion of our proceeds to veterans charities. Matthew Kahl, thanks for taking the time to speak with us today.
Matthew Kahl: Thanks a lot, Jesse.
Jesse Lavoie: And look forward to speaking with you again.
Matthew Kahl: You too, bro.
Jesse Lavoie: Bye bye.