A letter written last week is is urging the VA to put efforts into research on medical marijuana for vets. Although medical marijuana has been shown to be beneficial for veterans suffering from PTSD and chronic pain, there have been no attempts by the VA to consent to research. This is despite countless people urging them to do so.
Letter is the Latest Attempt to Get VA to Study Medical Marijuana for Vets
The American Legion and several lawmakers and veteran organizations have been urging the federal government to take marijuana off the list of Schedule I substances. Because cannabis is classified as a dangerous drug, very little research has taken place.
Those in support of medical marijuana for vets however, aren’t giving up. This recent letter follows attempts made last month by the American Legion that pressed for “direct involvement” from the VA to stop hindering clinical studies on cannabis for the treatment of PTSD.
The letter addressed to David Shulkin, Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs, was signed by ten members of the US House of Representatives. It came as a “request” to “fulfill the stated mission” of the VA “to discover knowledge and create innovations that advance health care for veterans and the Nation.”
Countless Veterans Could Find Relief from Medical Cannabis
According to Joe Plenzler, American Legion media director, “Many veterans have told us that they have found relief from medical cannabis and have been able to stop taking VA-prescribed opioids. While we can’t change policy based on their compelling stories, we need to do the research so that we can have a national, fact-based adult conversation on the future of cannabis policy in America.”
The letter cited the fact that “13 percent of veterans prescribed opioids have formed an addiction to the drug.” It also “expressed concerns regarding veterans’ lack of access to alternatives to opioid-based treatments such as complementary and alternative medicine including medical marijuana.”
House Representative members believe the VA is “uniquely situated” for research of medical marijuana on vets. With “world-class researchers, the population it serves, and its history of overseeing and producing research resulting in cutting-edge medical treatments,” the VA is perfect to pursue necessary research on medical marijuana.
Congressman Tim Walz, the highest-ranking enlisted servicemember ever to serve in Congress, had the following to say in response to the letter: “Time and time again I have heard the stories of veterans who have used marijuana medicinally to help them cope with physical and psychological injuries sustained during their service. After hearing from and meeting with veterans and veterans’ advocates from communities across the country, I now know for a fact that research and access to medical marijuana has become a critically important veterans’ issue.”
Walz also mentioned the opioid crisis and how “few populations have been hurt by the opioid epidemic as our veterans.”
It’s a critical time for cannabis research, but without federal funding and support countless veterans continue to suffer. And while its estimated that over 40 percent of veterans use marijuana medically, many are missing out on this integral “advancement of health care for veterans and the Nation.”
Through their most recent attempt, House Representatives ask the VA to respond “in kind, with a commitment to the development of VHA-led research into the issue.” Members are still waiting for Shulkin’s response.