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The VA may start researching medical cannabis


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Thor Benson / Cannabis News Box Contributor

A bipartisan group of Congress members is currently pushing for a bill called the VA Medicinal Cannabis Research Act that would allow the VA to study the potential benefits of medical cannabis. Many veterans use cannabis to treat ailments like PTSD, chronic pain and more, and lawmakers want the VA to look into how this might be effective for them.

That said, some veterans don’t think the bill goes far enough. Sean Kiernan, president of The Weed for Warriors Project, told Cannabis News Box that the bill “only suggests the VA do research.”

“It really is a hollow bill that most feel was done for political purposes with no real chance it passes the Senate,” he said. “In fact it’s DOA… I have been told by multiple sources.”

Kiernan said the VA has “made very little progress with regard to cannabis.” He said veterans who use cannabis are still treated like drug addicts, despite the fact the VA prescribes them highly addictive opioids and doesn’t really have a problem with that. He said many veterans still lose their benefits when it’s found they are using cannabis.

“We have seen outright theft of veterans’ disability by those entrusted to pay these bills all because these veterans are treated like third-class citizens with regard to fundamental rights,” Kiernan said.

Roughly 20 veterans commit suicide daily, and these deaths are often connected to the ailments they endure after returning from war zones. Some are plagued by problems connected to the opioids they are prescribed, and cannabis is seen by many as a safer medicine for them, which could mean it would help lower the number of suicides in this community.

Kiernan said this debate isn’t just about veterans, though, he said it’s about everyone having access to legal cannabis. “It’s not just veterans, it is all Americans that need free choice,” he said. “We need an alternative to the very deadly pharmaceutical cocktails being pushed by Western medicine, thus the VA. Be it opioids, anti-depressants, anti-anxiety or other pills, they all have dangerous and deadly results on their FDA risk profiles.”

It’s still unclear if this particular bill will pass, but what is clear is that many people feel it’s crucial that cannabis be available to those who need it so they can avoid more risky treatments and feel better. That may not happen this month, but it looks like it’s on the way.

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