Lawmakers have written veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald. Pleading to allow VA doctors to recommend marijuana, as a potential medical treatment in states where it is legal.
There was a VA policy that expired Jan 31st. VA doctors are not allowed to discuss medical marijuana with their patients or even recommend it for treatment with veterans.
As far as senators and representative there were 19 liberals and 2 conservatives. This included Rep Joe Heck of Nevada, who is a physician and Army Reserve brigadier general. He wants a new policy that removes barriers that would interfere with doctor patient relationship. Of course in states where this is legal.
Sen Kirsten Gillibrand, Sen. Steve Daines and others wrote to McDonald, on Wednesday stating. “We ask that you act to ensure that our veterans access to care is not compromised and that doctors and patients are allowed to have honest discussions about treatment options.”
There have been 23 states and the District of Columbia have legalized medical marijuana, also 17 states have laws regulating oils derived from marijuana plants.
Marijuana possession and the use thereof continues to be a crime under federal law.
A year ago, Senate Appropriations Committee passed an amendment to Veterans Affairs spending bill. This would have required VA to change its policy on physicians discussing medical marijuana with patients. In 2015 representatives sponsored a bill seeking reclassification of marijuana as a Schedule II drug. This would allow researchers to study the plant’s, effectiveness as a medicine without having to go through the long bureaucratic process.
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, introduced a bill that would repeal all federal penalties for possessing and growing marijuana. (no sponsors currently)
The VA recommends that its physicians use “evidence based” practices to treat mental and physical health conditions. Such as post traumatic stress disorder, depression and pain.
There is said to be “no research” thus far in the U.S. on the effectiveness of medical marijuana. No research for relieving symptoms of PTSD or other conditions. There are however, a number of veterans groups and marijuana legalization advocates who say it does help relieve symptoms of combat related anxiety.
In 2015 the state of Colorado gave a $2 million grant to the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies. This was done to conduct research on using marijuana, to treat post traumatic stress.
Colorado health officials, voted against adding PTSD to the states list of eligible ailments for medical marijuana. Voters of the board of health said there was not enough research to support its use as an effective treatment.
Gonna be interesting to to see where this goes in the next few years. Most veterans are for medical marijuana, and many feel better taking this type of medication rather than pills. Gonna be interesting to see where this goes, stay tuned vets.
Isaac J. Hall II