Veterans’ Affairs Will Not be Studying Marijuana as a Treatment for Veterans
Despite evidence that marijuana helps veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder, the Department of Veterans’ Affairs is stating that they will not be studying marijuana as a treatment for veterans with PTSD or for any other medicinal purposes.
In an article reported by the Washington Post on Tuesday, the Department of Veterans’ Affairs Secretary David Shulkin said that the sole reason for not conducting the needed research was because the federal government’s classification of marijuana as a Schedule I drug makes it illegal, and therefore not eligible for federal medical research funding.
Organizations for military veterans such as the American Legion are advocating for marijuana legalization to treat PTSD, chronic pain, opioid addiction and depression. The American Legion has been actively trying to convince Congress to write legislation amending the Controlled Substances Act that reclassifies marijuana and eliminates it as a Schedule I drug, citing its medicinal value.
A survey conducted by the American Legion concluded that at least 92 percent of all veterans are in support of more research on marijuana for medicinal purposes, including mental health illnesses. The survey also found that 83 percent of veterans think that medical marijuana should be legal. The VA acknowledged that at least 15 percent of veterans receiving outpatient treatment say that they had used marijuana to relieve PTSD symptoms within the last 6 months.
Marijuana advocates were disappointed by the Department of Veterans’ Affairs announcement, citing the numerous scientific studies that have been conducted on marijuana for medicinal purposes. The National Institutes of Health published a study on medical marijuana as a treatment for PTSD in 2015 and found that symptoms decreased with marijuana consumption. Washington DC and 29 states have legalized marijuana. Advocates hope that the federal government will catch up with the scientific evidence and legalize marijuana soon. Free the weed!
Niko Mann is a freelance writer living in Los Angeles, California.