If the vast majority of veterans are consuming cannabis as medical patients, why is the Department of Veterans Affairs still unable to run studies and trials for cannabis?
Research roadblocks… let’s unpack them.
“Among military veterans who acknowledged using cannabis within the past year, 41 percent classified their marijuana use as medical – a percentage that is twice as high as is reported by adults in the general population" (Addictive Behaviors, 2018).
If the vast majority of veterans are consuming cannabis as medical patients, why is the Department of Veterans Affairs still unable to run studies and trials for cannabis? It comes down to the simple fact that at the federal level cannabis is classified as a “Schedule 1” drug. Meaning the federally funded department of VA will continue to run into issues until we legalize at the federal level.
It’s something that’s been debated for years now, especially with chronic pain being so prevalent for many service members post active duty. Various officials have fought to bring cannabis research to the VA community. As a society we are required to offer pain management solutions and opioids/pharmaceutical drugs are not viable long term treatment plans.
Marijuana Movement reported last week, Nov.5 that the house committee approved the VA Medicinal Cannabis Research Act. This bill requires the Department of Veterans Affairs to conduct clinical trials investigating the therapeutic potential of cannabis for military veterans. This act would also mandate a series of studies exploring cannabis’ effects on PTSD and chronic pain.
“But scientists say the VA and the DOJ have a history of stonewalling anyone who wants to conduct trials of plant-derived cannabis for therapeutic purposes, even though the agencies regularly approve studies into the drug’s harmful effects.”
So where does that leave us?
You can always count on the innovative minds of the stoner community to get creative! With 36 states currently building out medical markets for cannabis it is common for doctors to operate in a grey area.
Chad Drew, Director of Sales at TwistedFoot, served for 6 years in the US Air Force before starting in Denver’s legal cannabis industry in 2009. He claims his use of alternative medicine was a huge game changer for managing pain. Chad has also worked with local Colorado communities and industry leaders such as Wana Brands (who donated a ton of cannabis edibles) to provide veterans with access to healing medicine, including psilocybin. “It’s important to get ahead of the game when possible,” says Chad, “lots of veterans suffer from ailments, including the most common PTSD, due to their military service. And many who have sacrificed in the past don't currently have the means to access this medicine that can simply improve their quality of life everyday.”
Check out Chad’s giveaway for veterans day here!
So while we may not be researching at a federal level there are cases all across the country of plant medicine facilitating healing for Veterans! As we continue to fight for the right to research we are left with minimal opportunities to help. One initiative that became law in 2016 is the Veterans Day Moment of Silence Act. This act calls on all Americans to observe two minutes of silence on Veterans Day beginning at 1:11pm MST (3:11pm AST/ 12:11pm PST). We encourage any users reading to participate.
Ariana is a multimedia artist, cannabis advocate, and content creator based in Montana. Passionate about people and the planet, she finds purpose in helping plan and execute ideas striving for social and environmental improvement. She aims to be a conscious consumer and thought leader, believing that the cannabis community is key to changing the narrative of what it means to be a “stoner.”