VA Won't Study Marijuana's Effect on Veterans

function share_this(num) {
 tit=encodeURIComponent('VA Won't Study Marijuana's Effect on Veterans');
 site = new Array(5);
 return false;

  VA Won't Study Marijuana's Effect on Veterans

Posted by CN Staff on January 17, 2018 at 05:20:46 PT
By Katie Zezima 
Source: Washington Post 

Washington, D.C. -- The Department of Veterans Affairs says it will not conduct research into whether medical marijuana could help veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and chronic pain, as veterans groups are pushing for the use of the drug as an alternative to opioids and anti-depressants.In a letter to U.S. Rep. Tim Walz (D-Minn.), Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin said VA’s ability to research medical marijuana is hampered by the fact that the drug is illegal federally. Shulkin’s letter came in response to an inquiry by 10 Democrats on the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee. The letter asks Shulkin to commit the VA to investigating whether medical marijuana can help veterans suffering from PTSD and chronic pain and identify barriers to doing so.
“VA is committed to researching and developing effective ways to help Veterans cope with post-traumatic stress disorder and chronic pain conditions,” Shulkin wrote in a response to the members of Congress. “However, federal law restricts VA’s ability to conduct research involving medical marijuana, or to refer veterans to such projects.”The response comes as at least 29 states, plus the District of Columbia, Guam and Puerto Rico, have legalized the use of medical marijuana in some form. Veterans groups, including the American Legion, have been pushing for the drug to be studied and used to help ease the effects of PTSD, chronic pain and other disorders.“What America’s veterans need prioritized right now is for cannabis to be treated as a health policy issue,” said Nick Etten, founder and executive director of the Veterans Cannabis Project. “We’re desperate for solutions for the conditions we’re dealing with.”According to a 2017 VA review, about 15 percent of veterans treated at outpatient PTSD clinics reported using marijuana in the previous six months. According to an American Legion phone survey released in November, 22 percent of veteran household respondents said they used cannabis to treat a medical condition. Ninety-two percent of veteran households surveyed for the Legion said they support researching whether marijuana can effectively treat mental and physical conditions and 82 percent said they want to have medical cannabis as a legal treatment option.Last month the Veterans Health Administration urged patients to discuss medical marijuana use with their doctors. The shift will allow doctors and patients to determine what, if any, effect marijuana use might have on treatment plans. Veterans were earlier concerned that admitting to marijuana use could jeopardize their benefits. But VA physicians still cannot refer patients to state medical marijuana programs because of the federal prohibition.John Hudak, deputy director of the Center for Effective Public Management at the Brookings Institution, said even though marijuana is illegal federally, research on the drug is not prohibited.“Obviously it is federally illegal, but there are no restrictions on doing scientific research on it. Universities do this all the time and there’s a process to go through,” he said, noting that the National Institute on Drug Abuse funds cannabis research. “It’s really a cop out for the VA to say, ‘oh, we’re not doing work on this because of federal law’ when actually federal law allows them to do that.”Shulkin’s response was “disappointing and unacceptable,” Walz, the House committee’s ranking member, said in a statement.“VA’s response not only failed to answer our simple question, but they made a disheartening attempt to mislead me, my colleagues and the veteran community in the process” by stating that the VA is restricted from conducting marijuana research. Walz, a veteran, said he plans to send another letter to Shulkin asking for further clarification.A spokesman for Shulkin pointed to the secretary’s past comments on medical marijuana. Shulkin said in May, “My opinion is, is that some of the states that have put in appropriate controls, there may be some evidence that this is beginning to be helpful. And we’re interested in looking at that and learning from that. But until the time that federal law changes, we are not able … to prescribe medical marijuana for conditions that may be helpful.”Shulkin said VA is offering a suite of alternative treatments for patients with PTSD, including yoga, meditation, acupuncture and hypnosis. The letter also said VA has a program to reduce the amount of opioids prescribed to patients with chronic pain; since 2013, Shulkin wrote, 33 percent fewer patients were receiving opioids.There has not been much research into marijuana for medical purposes, in large part because of regulatory hurdles and the fact that marijuana is classified as a Schedule 1 drug along with substances including heroin. Until 2016, only researchers at the University of Mississippi were allowed to grow marijuana for scientific use; the DEA relaxed the rules and let other institutions apply to do so, though none have yet been approved.President Trump said during the campaign that he supports making medical marijuana available to the very sick. His attorney general, Jeff Sessions, is a staunch opponent of marijuana. Sessions this month made it easier for prosecutors to enforce federal law in states that legalized marijuana. Eight states and the District allow the recreational use of marijuana.Shulkin cited a VA analysis of existing research, which found “insufficient evidence” that medical marijuana helps patients with chronic pain or PTSD and could increase harm in some areas, including car crashes. A study by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine that reviewed studies on the health effects of marijuana and associated products found they can provide a “significant reduction in pain symptoms” for chronic-pain patients. But many say there has been a paucity of research.“There has been no meaningful clinical research conducted on PTSD and brain injuries,” Etten said. Katie Zezima is a national correspondent covering drugs, guns, gambling and vice in America. She covered the 2016 election and the Obama White House for The Post. Source: Washington Post (DC)Author:  Katie ZezimaPublished: January 16, 2018Copyright: 2018 Washington Post CompanyContact: letters Website: URL: Medical Marijuana Archives 

Home    Comment    Email    Register    Recent Comments    Help    


Comment #4 posted by Hope on January 24, 2018 at 12:54:48 PT

The VA
They are totally failing our veterans in this area. Cannabis helps PTSD and chronic pain. The bureaucracy is, in this case, for sure, crippled by being bound up in senseless, moronic, ungodly red tape. Totally. The bureaucracy. Nothing real happening here, folks. Just a huge wad of tangled red tape. No reality, no compassion, no common sense, and a spell of ignorance cast upon the so-called "Deciders" in our cruel, stupid authorities.The main reason they can't recommend it to anyone is that it's not being sold to them by big, big pharma. Big pharmaceutical companies know exactly which politicians to give the most money/bribe to.Everyone behind this pitiful deed of denying our veterans a chance to try this herb is an ignorant, greedy troglodyte. Humanity. Don't they have any? 
[ Post Comment ]


Comment #3 posted by Hope on January 22, 2018 at 09:21:49 PT

It's beyond sad that the American people were so easily herded into Dupont and pal's pens for testing to keep a job.Those same ignorant people who did not resist the intrusion at all, do not understand why everyone shouldn't be lined up and tested because they had to. Drug testing is supposed to be about the industry wanting trustable workers. It's not. It's about money and subjection. Worst of all, it is people within our government doing it and claiming they are not. They found a way to get around that pesky "Unreasonable search and seizure" bit in the Constitution. It most certainly is Constitutional traitors within the government forcing private companies to do the unreasonable search and seizure. They know the Constitution restrains them somewhat from doing it directly... but they devised a plan. They developed powerful incentives for the hiring companies to do it for them.Greedy, arrogant, authoritarians devised a scheme to bring into existence a new, very profitable industry, drug testing, borne on the backs of the herd. Congratulations, Vincent, for being able to retain your rights and dignity in the face of authoritarian injustice.
[ Post Comment ]


Comment #2 posted by Vincent on January 18, 2018 at 14:08:45 PT:

I agree with you 100%. Drug-testing is an infringement of my privacy rights. That's why I never, EVER submitted to a drug-test while looking for work. Usually, if a prospective employer requests that I be drug-screened, I can talk them out of it. If not, then I tell them to take their job and shove it!
[ Post Comment ]


Comment #1 posted by Hope on January 18, 2018 at 08:48:05 PT

The Veterans Affairs people
They could just stop testing the veterans to see if they are using cannabis. It will help the veterans if they can at least use cannabis without having their body fluids drawn to see if they might be lying about what they have tried for their pain. There's your red tape and it's wrapped all around our veterans and that very red tape is actually killing veterans in some cases.Does anyone but me in this old world think that that is unreasonable search and seizure? It's unreasonable to have your blood, urine, and follicles seized, searched and studied for compounds that would indicated that these grown people had defied the nanny state?Oh, my Lord! Sucking peoples blood and urine, and yanking out hair is unreasonable. UNREASONABLE! Why is that so difficult for an authoritarian or a slave of the authoritarian to see?The Constitution was supposed to protect us from that.

[ Post Comment ]

  Post Comment