ptsd second amendment military veteran cannabis marijuana
Medical Marijuana Policy

Bill Introduced To Overturn Ban On VA Physicians Recommending Medical Marijuana

ptsd second amendment military veteran cannabis marijuanaU.S. House Representatives Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), along with ten bipartisan Congressional cosponsors introduced the “Veterans Equal Access Act” (VEAA) today, marking a concerted federal effort to allow our country’s veterans to become medical marijuana patients in states where it’s legal. The VEAA would simply allow Veterans Affairs (VA) physicians to discuss and recommend medical marijuana to their patients, a right enjoyed by physicians outside of the VA system.

“Post traumatic stress and traumatic brain injury are just as damaging and harmful as any injuries that are visible from the outside,” said Blumenauer, the bill’s author. “Sometimes even more so because of the devastating effect they can have on a veteran’s family. We should be allowing these wounded warriors access to the medicine that will help them survive and thrive, including medical marijuana, not treating them like criminals and forcing them into the shadows. It’s shameful.”

The VEAA is cosponsored by a balanced mix of ten members on each side of the aisle, as well as a range of members from states that have, and still have not, legalized marijuana for medical use: Dina Titus (D-NV), Justin Amash (R-MI), Paul Broun (R-GA), Walter Jones (R-NC), Thomas Massie (R-KY), Sam Farr (D-CA), Jared Polis (D-CO), Beto O’Rourke (D-TX), Steve Stockman (R-TX) and Steve Cohen (D-TN).

In 2011, the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) issued a directive which said, “VHA policy does not administratively prohibit Veterans who participate in State marijuana programs from also participating in VHA substance abuse programs, pain control programs, or other clinical programs where the use of marijuana may be considered inconsistent with treatment goals.” However, in addition to giving wide discretion to continue discrimination against veterans, the policy also forbids VA physicians from issuing medical marijuana recommendations to their patients.

For many veterans, their VA physician is their primary care physician and they have no need to go outside of the VA system for health care. In fact, since more than a million U.S. veterans are at risk of homelessness due to poverty, they don’t have the option to pay for private physicians in order to meet their health care needs. As a result, veterans are either denied critical pain medication and other pharmaceuticals because of their medical marijuana use, or they are forced by their VA physicians to go without an important and adjunct therapy.

“Millions of Americans suffer from PTSD and chronic pain, but our veterans are even more adversely affected by these conditions, and yet we fail to treat them with the same level of respect,” said Mike Liszewski, Government Affairs Director with Americans for Safe Access, the country’s leading medical marijuana advocacy group. “Veterans must be given the same rights and health care options that we give other Americans, especially where medical marijuana is concerned.”

Researchers were granted permission earlier this year to study the effects of medical marijuana on Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). However, soon after, the University of Mississippi, the sole supplier of research-grade cannabis in the U.S., said it was unable to provide the requested strains, causing delays in the research. More recently, in June, the study hit another snag after the lead researcher, Dr. Sue Sisley, was abruptly fired by the University of Arizona.

In March, the Journal of Psychoactive Drugs published a study that found participants who used inhaled marijuana reported an average of 75 percent reduction in PTSD symptoms.

Further information:
Veterans Equal Access Act: http://www.safeaccessnow.org/veterans_equal_access_act

Source: Americans for Safe Accessmake a donation

  • psi2u2

    “We should be allowing these wounded warriors access to the medicine that will help them survive and thrive, including medical marijuana, not treating them like criminals and forcing them into the shadows. It’s shameful.”

    Need anyone say anymore than this? I suppose some legislators and captains of industry & banking are afraid that this medicine might bring with it the unintended consequence of veterans looking back at their service in Iraq or Afghanistan from a new and different point of view.

    • Pcdocjon

      Your second paragraph insults the intelligence and opinions of our men and women who risk and give their limbs and lives to defend this country. Marijuana does not form peoples’ opinions. It is a powerful medication with multiple and various healing properties, and is in no way dangerous or addicting as a recreational drug, unlike alcohol and tobacco.
      To deny relief from the multitude of healing properties and the use for recreational purposes of such a miracle plant is an outrage. It is an immoral act on the part of selfish special interests. No one needs marijuana to realize the reasons for marijuana’s failing ban from public consumptuon, on either side of this issue. Marijuana use will not and does not cause people to form their political opinions. It is a miracle drug. It is safe. It is a medicine and a mild recreational drug for its users.
      The users political opinions dont occur while they are using the drug, they form in light of the reasons for it being banned from legal use. It’s ban, not it’s use, opens many peoples’ eyes to the incredible ignorance about it, selfish interests of the Big Pharma cartel, and the corruption of our failing Federal government.

      • psi2u2

        I’m sorry that you feel so insulted. However, as far as I am concerned, you completely misunderstood my comment.

        It is a fact that cannabis use encourages people to “think outside the box.” Unlike alcohol, which encourages aggression by interfering with the brain’s inhibitions, cannabis promotes reflection, creativity, and relaxation — that is one reason it appears to be so efficacious for PTSD among other diseases.

        It is not a coincidence that it was Richard Nixon who ushered in the most recent round of prohibition laws. He did so because there was, in fact, a definite association between those, especially former servicemen, who smoked marijuana and had come to realize that the Vietnam war was a horror show, and his political enemies.

        Of course Marijuana “does not cause people to form their political opinions.” I never said it did. The point of my comment was to try to understand both the material (pharmaceutical, plastics, police payoffs) and the cultural bases for prohibition. You may believe that legalization will not change our culture. I think it will — in what ways, no one knows, but it is at least possible t hope that it might facilitate a more cooperative and generous culture, less driven by acquisition and greed.

        It would be nice to think that one could open a discussion about that question without being immediately accused of being “insulting.”

        • Denny

          I don’t ever recall observing anyone who became agitated or aggressive while using marijuana.
          In fact, just the opposite is commonplace.
          Inevitably, money becomes a topic of consideration when discussing marijuana legalization.
          Today the producers and dispensaries have spent and are spending a lot to sustain their business operations.
          That said, they’re also earning a tidy monthly sum of cash for their efforts in the form of extremely high prices, especially for their edibles. While I understand and appreciate the methods they use to help ensure the end products are safe, clean, etc., especially when compared to street-grade offerings, the user cost has been creeping up to the point of frequently hearing people say they won’t be able to afford it much longer. If this occurs in mass across the country, then years of effort could be squandered by the same menace we rail against with regard to big businesses, pharmaceutical companies, etc.,–greed.

        • “Look, we understood we couldn’t make it illegal to be young or poor or
          black in the United States, but we could criminalize their common
          pleasure. We understood that drugs were not the health problem we were
          making them out to be, but it was such a perfect issue…that we
          couldn’t resist it.”

          – John Ehrlichman, White House counsel to President Nixon on the rationale of the War on Drugs.

          ================

          Cannabis cures cancer. Cancer kills 586,000 Americans every year. Republicans (generally) favor killing those people to keep Prohibition in place. Every Prohibitionist is complicit in mass murder.

          =================

          Gerald Ford ordered the destruction of all records that proved cannabis had medical value. Including against cancer.

    • Jetdoc

      Let’s NOT forget Viet Nam vets!

  • psi2u2

    I also like this:

    “the University of Mississippi, the sole supplier of research-grade cannabis in the U.S., said it was unable to provide the requested strains”

    This would be ridiculously comic were it not so tragic for those in need of treatment. I appreciate the objectivity of this article. The sequence of events you describe, ending with the summary dismissal of Dr. Sisley, speaks volumes about the dirty politics behind continued prohibition.

    • Dirty politics? How about mass murder?

      Cannabis cures cancer. Cancer kills 586,000 Americans every year. Every Prohibitionist is complicit in mass murder.

      Pass it on.

  • Veteran

    As a veteran with ptsd that just got his MMC less then a week ago. Its a crying shame that I can’t even get the flower that I need. Miss information from a doctor and I have my license but cant even get the bud I need to properly medicate. The state had no problem taking my money for the license!!!

    Explore all of your options and think rationally about your choices. For me its the best choice I have made in a long time. I am grateful to be part of a cultural change of view on a medication that has already helped millions. My fellow brothers and sisters in arms deserve the best treatments!!