The federal government does research marijuana to be clear, just not very much. They have their own facility in Mississippi that grows a relatively small amount of mediocre quality marijuana for research purposes. Either the Department of Veteran Affairs is denied access to this marijuana for research purposes, or the VA is just using the Schedule 1 status of marijuana to refuse researching cannabis for its medical properties.
PTSD is a condition many U.S. military veterans contend with on a regular basis and medical marijuana therapy has shown a real ability to bring them relief. The issue is that marijuana is illegal federally and so veterans are getting no help with medical marijuana through the VA healthcare system. Member of the House Veteran’s Affairs Committee are trying to change that though.
In a letter to U.S. Rep. Tim Walz (D-Minn.), Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin said VA’s ability to research medical marijuana is hampered by the fact that the drug is illegal federally. Shulkin’s letter came in response to an inquiry by 10 Democrats on the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee. The letter asks Shulkin to commit the VA to investigating whether medical marijuana can help veterans suffering from PTSD and chronic pain and identify barriers to doing so.
“VA is committed to researching and developing effective ways to help Veterans cope with post-traumatic stress disorder and chronic pain conditions,” Shulkin wrote in a response to the members of Congress. “However, federal law restricts VA’s ability to conduct research involving medical marijuana, or to refer veterans to such projects.”
According to a 2017 VA review, about 15 percent of veterans treated at outpatient PTSD clinics reported using marijuana in the previous six months. According to an American Legion phone survey released in November, 22 percent of veteran household respondents said they used cannabis to treat a medical condition. Ninety-two percent of veteran households surveyed for the Legion said they support researching whether marijuana can effectively treat mental and physical conditions and 82 percent said they want to have medical cannabis as a legal treatment option.
The response from the VA is infuriating since it seems as though they are putting no effort at all to try and prove that medical marijuana can help veterans with PTSD or chronic pain despite veterans virtually screaming to them that it does help them. Why does it seem that the VA is just ignoring the medical marijuana issue?
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