Cannabis Law Prof Blog

Editor: Franklin G. Snyder
Texas A&M University
School of Law

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Veterans are fighting the VA for pot instead of pills

VeteransVeterans who have served in war zones and suffer with PTSD are one step closer to getting marijuana to treat it with.  This February the government approved the first study of marijuana's affects  on veterans with PTSD.

The government funded study has struggled to find eligible participants. The Department of  Veterans Affairs has not cooperated. The VA is refusing to refer eligible veterans for the study. So researchers are having to seek participants out on their own. This process has been slow with over 3000 veterans interviewed and less than 30 being accepted. The requirements are strict and confidential. Most veterans are ineligible to participate because they live too far from the study or do not meet the requirements. 

The VA has remained firm in its policy against medical marijuana. VA employees are prohibited from discussing medical marijuana  with veterans. Regardless that the study is government funded, the VA refuses to assist the study with referring eligible veterans. Researchers feel access to the VA system would boost recruitment and speed up the process by screening out veterans faster.

    "To be eligible for the study veterans must be diagnosed with chronic PTSD caused by military service. Men and women of     all ages are encouraged to apply. 26 Veterans are currently participating in the study."

Some veterans are seeing marijuana as an alternative to addictive medications. One veteran organization is wanting to fight suicide and chronic pain with marijuana. The organization claims that the medicines proscribed by the VA and doctors are addictive. When those medicines no longer work because the person has become tolerant or addicted to the medicine, veterans must find help some other way. 20% of the nations suicides are the men and women who have worn the nation's uniform.

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