GUYSBOROUGH, N.S. — The inquiry investigating why a former soldier killed three family members and himself is hearing testimony today from a New Brunswick doctor who prescribed him medical cannabis.
Dr. Paul Smith, who specializes in treating military members with PTSD, provided the inquiry with a detailed explanation of his practice and the various uses of medical marijuana.
Smith said he prefers his patients to use cannabis oil instead of smoking marijuana, because the results from smoking are unpredictable.
The family physician said Lionel Desmond — diagnosed with PTSD and major depression in 2011 after serving in Afghanistan — was smoking cannabis more than the doctor would have liked when he was receiving treatment in the summer of 2015.
The inquiry has heard Desmond told Smith the drug had helped reduce his anxiety and depression, while virtually eliminating his suicidal thoughts.
However, the inquiry has also heard Desmond stopped using medical marijuana a few months later, which is when he asked Smith to sign off on a medical assessment form for reinstatement of a firearms licence.
Though Smith was aware that Desmond was experiencing marital problems, Smith’s lawyer has told the inquiry he “felt comfortable completing the form indicating that he had no concerns that Mr. Desmond posed a safety risk to himself or others.”
On Jan. 3, 2017, Desmond bought a Soviet-era SKS 7.62 carbine, which he used later that night to kill his 31-year-old wife Shanna, their 10-year-old daughter Aaliyah and his 52-year-old mother Brenda inside the family’s home in Upper Big Tracadie, N.S.
He then turned the gun on himself.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 24, 2020.
The Canadian Press