VA is ready to help vets with medical cannabis
Veterans support safer Cannabis-based medical treatments, but the U.S. government doesn’t want to support them despite an increase in opioid addiction and suicide among U.S. troops and veterans. VA is ready to discuss the benefits of medical marijuana now due to efforts made by researchers and medical specialists.
By Jason Sander for Loud News Net
Millions of Americans use medical cannabis to treat a wide range of ailments – from cancer to fibromyalgia, as well as chronic pain and anxiety. In the military, the rigors, daily grind, physical exertion, and long hours from years of dedicated service take a toll on the body physically and emotionally. Veterans have been discussing and debating medical cannabis a lot. In this article, we’ll examine the VA’s position on medical cannabis, its continued stigma, and whether it’s an effective treatment for PTSD.
Does the military test for CBD?
CBD oil is legal, but it comes with some indirect risks. In a drug test, you may show positive results for THC. Accordingly, the United States military believes that CBD-based products should be avoided at all costs.
The military also believes that other risks may exist since CBD products are not closely regulated by the FDA. In some ways, this is true, but reputable suppliers of CBD can mitigate risks. For Tanasi, the harvesting and extraction processes are governed by strict standards. Throughout the entire process, testing is performed.
The House of Representatives voted in July 2020 to allow service members to use, possess, and purchase hemp-derived products. The amendment seems likely to succeed throughout its development stages and may eventually provide some relief to service members who wish to take advantage of CBD oil.
Up until then, military service members cannot use CBD products. The implementation of reforms will also take some time even when the bill passes.
VA Medical Coverage for Cannabis prior to Y2020
Veterans Affairs, or VA, provides healthcare coverage to eligible veterans. Veterans are not qualified to receive cannabis medicine under their healthcare coverage provided by the VA at this time. However, most veterans seem to favor the use of medical cannabis at present, despite the overwhelming majority supporting it. 82 percent of respondents to a poll conducted on behalf of the American Legion favor legal medical cannabis, and 92 percent favor more research into it, according to an article from Military Connection.
You can find an abundance of scientific evidence supporting the use of medicinal marijuana in treating pain management and PTSD – two of the most common ailments veterans suffer from. Marijuana is an attractive alternative for patients with chronic pain, and millions of vets are no different. In this election year, as it has been for some time, the opioid crisis has been a hot button issue. In 2017, there were 47,600 opioid-related deaths in the U.S., according to the CDC. Cannabis consumption has never directly caused a death. There is no American who deserves a safer alternative to potentially harmful prescription opioids like hydrocodone and tramadol than the armed forces.
Veterans cannot be prescribed cannabis because it is currently classified as a schedule 1 drug. Additionally, this classification halts the much-needed research that is needed to expand access to plant medicine. Veterans are, of course, free to apply for medical herb, provided it’s legal in their state.
In the final days of the Obama presidency, the DEA announced they were approving access to medical marijuana research. A similar announcement was made in 2019 as well. DEA and FDA have not made any progress implementing the approved research licenses at the time of this writing.
Congress Approves CBD Military Bill
The military’s longstanding zero-tolerance marijuana policy could be eroding. There was the approval of a provision by a House committee in July 2020 to let troops who previously used cannabis re-enlist in the military. Later in the month, Congress passed an amendment to allow service members the use of hemp and CBD products.
Representative Tulsi Gabbard sponsored an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that included several non-cannabis amendments. The House of Representatives passed the NDAA by a vote of 336 to 71 on Monday.
The amendment states that a member of the armed forces cannot be prohibited from possessing, using, or consuming a product containing hemp or an ingredient derived from hemp.
The Stigma of Cannabis Treatment for PTSD
PTSD, or post-traumatic stress disorder, affects 3 million Americans for various reasons. Veterans of the Iraq war suffer from PTSD in as many as 20 percent of cases. According to U.S. statistics, about 12 percent of Gulf War veterans suffer from PTSD. The latest news.
PTSD causes symptoms that can be hard for many veterans to cope with. These symptoms include emotional numbing, detachment, depersonalization, feeling like one is in a haze, and dissociative amnesia. One of the most common prescriptions for anxiety, depression, and other mental health conditions that are associated with PTSD is a benzodiazepine called alprazolam, better known by its brand name Xanax. When combined with opioids like codeine, hydrocodone, These drugs, which are also commonly prescribed to military veterans, can cause serious side effects or even death. In 2016, over 10,000 benzodiazepine-related deaths were recorded in the U.S. Weed is a drug, no doubt, but far better than any other drug.
People with PTSD may experience suicidal ideations when cut off from drugs like Xanax. Medical cannabis is a great alternative, as we discussed previously. Due to conflicting reports from mainstream media outlets and some anti-drug organizations, medicinal marijuana for PTSD and chronic pain is stigmatized. There are even studies that claim people with chronic pain and PTSD abuse weed.
According to other news reports, cannabis is a promising and potentially effective treatment for PTSD. Researchers concluded that the herb can reduce PTSD symptoms in patients accepted into New Mexico’s medical program.
Veterans who consume weed have typically been studied as part of a drug abuse disorder, rather than as a treatment. Dr. Sue Sisley led a team of researchers to conduct the first clinical trial of cannabis consumption in veterans suffering from PTSD for ten years. As a result of the investigation, Dr. Sisley was terminated from the University of Arizona, after complaints from a Senator.
As a teacher in Florida may lose his job due to him using medicinal marijuana to treat his PTSD, the stigma persists. Michael Hickman is a former Marine who served in Desert Storm. Even though he was promoted to the dean, Hickman still fights for the job. Hickman’s case was not the first time an employee had been fired for using medical cannabis to treat PTSD, nor will it be the last. The news is replete with stories about cases like this.
The Future of Medical Cannabis for Veterans
Everyone knows how difficult it is to conduct much-needed cannabis research in the U.S. Rolling Stone published an article on this. The DEA, the FDA, and the National Institute on Drug Abuse have to approve its study in the U.S., which makes it so difficult. These agencies are reportedly dragging their feet, with little progress being made. It has been pointed out to many cannabis advocates – most notably NORML – that the government is hypocritical for its stance on cannabis that they support the military and its veterans. Only a few studies that have been conducted actually approved are only allowed to receive weed that is grown at The University Ole Miss, which reportedly supplies researchers will low-grade cannabis.
We saw numerous advancements with more clinical trials and research in 2020, as cannabis prohibition and the lack of access to it clearly harms veterans suffering from PTSD. It would be beneficial for legalization advocates to support researchers and scientists like Dr. Sue Sisley, who are undergoing the gauntlet of gaining federal approval for cannabis research.
California became the first state in the USA to legalize cannabis for medical purposes after voters approved Proposition 215 in 1996. Here is an article on grow busts in California. As of November 2020, 36 states, four of the five permanently inhabited U.S. territories, and the District of Columbia have legalized medical cannabis.
About the author: Jason Sander is a versatile writer and marketer with fifteen years of experience serving clients. He couples this expertise with a passion for cannabis businesses and the science of medical marijuana.