A survey from the Department of Veterans Affairs recently indicated about a million veterans are using medical marijuana. This is in spite of the fact that the department does not allow its doctors to recommend marijuana. The department cites Controlled Substances Act, 21 U.S.C. Section 812 as the reason for this policy, stating they are bound by the federal ban on cannabis being part of a federal agency. The department even shies away from studying the benefits of cannabis, instead focusing their research almost entirely on its problems, according to an article from New York Times.
For veterans who rely on medical treatment through the VA, this can mean they never receive access to medical marijuana. Many veterans have reported cannabis to be an effective treatment for chronic pain and post-traumatic stress disorder – two common issues among those who have fought in wars. It could also mean that veterans will still seek a way to obtain medical marijuana, either by visiting a physician certified to recommend cannabis other than their VA doctor, by purchasing recreational marijuana if they live in a state where it’s legal, or by illicit means. None of these methods are ideal, and this certainly is not the way we should be treating those who have served our country. There are, however, a few things that would be helpful for veterans to know about medical marijuana and the VA. Continue reading