The VA, Veterans, and Cannabis

In this week leading up to Veteran’s Day, The Green Solution® is thinking about the men and women who serve or have served in the armed forces. We continue to watch for legislation that could impact our veterans, especially when it comes to their ability to legally use cannabis to alleviate symptoms of PTSD. On that front, veterans have a strong ally in The American Legion.

The American Legion (“chartered and incorporated by Congress in 1919 as a patriotic veterans’ organization devoted to mutual helpfulness”) is distributing and publicizing a poll conducted by an independent research firm in October of this year. The poll surveyed 513 veterans and 289 caregivers from 39 states and found that an astounding 100% of respondents aged 18 – 30 support federally legalized medical cannabis. When all ages are considered, 83% support legalizing medical cannabis use, and 92% support medical cannabis research. Perhaps most interestingly, 22% of vets surveyed are currently using cannabis to treat a mental or physical condition – approximately the same percentage of vets who suffer from PTSD.

In response to the survey, Reps. Julia Brownley (D-CA) and Tim Walz (D-MN) and other Democrats on the House Veterans Affairs Committee sent a letter to Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin requesting that the Veterans Administration (VA) commit to supporting research into medical marijuana.

“VA’s pursuit of research into the impact of medical marijuana on the treatment of veterans diagnosed with PTSD who are also experiencing chronic pain is integral to the advancement of health care for veterans and the Nation,” the letter read. “We ask VA to respond, in kind, with a commitment to the development of VHA-led research into this issue. If VA is unable to make this commitment, we ask the VA to outline any and all external and internal barriers to the pursuit of the research to the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs by November 14, 2017.”

But of course, the “external and internal barriers” are clear – the categorization of cannabis as Schedule 1 prohibits federal research of its efficacy as a treatment for any disorders, including PTSD.

We’ll continue to monitor this situation and report back with any developments.

TGS offers patrons with military ID 10% off every day, and on military holidays (like Veteran’s Day, this Saturday, November 11th) they receive 30% off – because TGS cares.