A new bill has been introduced in the United States Senate
To authorize the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to implement a comprehensive research plan to study the effectiveness of medicinal cannabis in treating chronic pain and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in veterans. The VA Medicinal Cannabis Research Act was introduced by Senators Dan Sullivan, R-Alaska, and Jon Tester, D-Mont., and has bipartisan support.
The bill requires the VA to conduct a series of clinical trials to assess the effectiveness of medicinal cannabis for the treatment of chronic pain and PTSD. The trials will examine the effects of different forms, potencies, and methods of cannabis administration, and will also expand research into other factors related to veterans’ health, such as improvements to mood and social functioning and changes to overall quality of life.
“Our nation’s veterans deserve options when it comes to treating the wounds of war, which is why VA needs to have a better understanding of how medicinal cannabis plays a role in their healing,” said Tester in a statement. “Our bipartisan bill ensures VA is listening to the growing number of veterans who find critical relief from alternative treatments like medicinal cannabis, while working to empower veterans in making safe and informed decisions about their health.”
Sullivan emphasized the need for better data to understand the potential benefits and side effects of medicinal cannabis as an alternative therapy. “Medicinal cannabis is already in use by thousands of veterans across the country, but we don’t yet have the data we need to understand the potential benefits and side effects associated with this alternative therapy,” he said in a statement.
The Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) also supports the bill, with Director of National Legislative Service for Veterans of Foreign Wars, Pat Murray, saying that VFW members have reported that medicinal cannabis has helped them cope with chronic pain and other service-connected health conditions. However, they cannot receive these services at VA because of bureaucratic hurdles.
“Cannabis research is long overdue,” said Cole Lyle, executive director of Mission Roll Call, a group that works to prevent suicides and improve access to care. “As we continue to fight veteran suicide, it is essential that veterans are able to explore any and all means that could help them carry on with their lives. Congress should authorize and fund research on medical marijuana, so we can determine its effectiveness in treating service-related issues veterans across America are coping with.”
The VA Medicinal Cannabis Research Act could potentially provide much-needed relief to veterans struggling with chronic pain and PTSD, and help them explore alternative treatments to manage their conditions.
Written By David M, Higgins