Veteran-focused cannabis research moving in the right direction, but VA is still on the sidelines

Bethan Rose Jenkins, Cannabis News Writer/Editorial

Despite ongoing bipartisan prompts from Congress, doctors and veterans, frustrated veterans across the United States are still widely starved of medical cannabis access. 

Lack of research means that veterans residing in the 36 U.S. states that have already legalized medical cannabis are still unable to obtain the plant as a treatment for their war-inflicted physical and mental injuries.

Nonetheless, limited access to the plant does not appear to be deterring veterans from self-medicating, as this study shows.

Although the VA continuously ignores the plant’s potential benefits, progress is being made, with the U.S. House of Representatives recently approving a bill to permit cannabis research for servicemen.

House gives go-ahead to bill permitting cannabis research for Veterans

During the first week of November, a key congressional committee passed a bill that will grant scientists the opportunity to conduct federal research into the therapeutic use of cannabis for military veterans.

Based on details of the VA Medicinal Cannabis Research Act, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) will be tasked with carrying out clinical trials into the benefits of treating PTSD, depression and various other conditions using cannabis.

“Our veterans are no strangers to confronting challenges, and that’s why Congress needs to explore alternative treatment options,” said California democrat Rep. Lou Correa, who sponsored the bill. “The VA Medicinal Cannabis Research Act of 2021 meets veterans where they already are and opens a new door for federal policy that supports treatment options preferred by veterans.”

Veterans Cannabis Group Collaborates with Metta Medical to Co-Sponsor a New Scientific Study separate veteran-focused research effort seeks to paint a clearer picture of cannabis’ impact on sleep quality. Since many veterans suffer from night terrors after witnessing and experiencing trauma while serving in war, the potential of using cannabis as a sleep aid cannot be ignored.

National non-profit advocacy organization Veterans Cannabis Group (VCG) recently announced that it will be teaming up with the creator of LEVEL brand cannabis edible products, Metta Medical, to co-sponsor ECS21 — a California-based investigation into the therapeutic potential of using cannabigerol (CBG) for sleep.

“In 2019, the VA reported the veteran suicide rate to be 52.3 percent higher than the general population,” said former Army Sergeant and the founder of VCG, Aaron Augustis. “With sleep disorders greatly impacting one’s overall wellbeing, it’s obvious that helping veterans (and everyone) get better sleep is a key solution to the battle to end the veteran suicide crisis.”

Specifically, the ECS21 study will monitor the effects of CBG on the sleep quality of more than 100 volunteers who identify as current/past veterans. Stretching over eight weeks, the study will implement the use of Fitbit smartwatches and a Curabase application. Curabase prides itself on being a company devoted to normalizing clinical study access into cannabis.