VA Would Have to Research Medical Marijuana Under Bill Advanced by Senate Panel

James Eaton

A vital Senate panel has for the 1st time advanced a monthly bill that would make the Division of Veterans Affairs exploration cannabis as a cure for persistent suffering and article-traumatic tension condition.

The Senate Veterans Affairs Committee voted in a closed-door session Thursday to advance the VA Medicinal Cannabis Investigate Act, which directs the section to conduct a “significant scale” observational analyze and possibly a clinical trial on the outcomes of cannabis use on veterans’ well being.

“Our nation’s veterans have earned alternatives when it will come to treating the wounds of war, which is why VA needs to have a greater comprehension of how medicinal cannabis performs a purpose in their healing,” Senate Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman Jon Tester, D-Mont., explained in a statement this month when he launched the bill. “Our bipartisan bill makes sure VA is listening to the developing variety of veterans who obtain critical aid from alternative treatment plans like medicinal hashish, while functioning to empower veterans in generating secure and knowledgeable choices about their health and fitness.”

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The Senate edition is co-sponsored by Sen. Dan Sullivan, R-Alaska. An identical monthly bill was also launched in the Household this 7 days by Reps. Lou Correa, D-Calif., and Jack Bergman, R-Mich., a retired Marine Corps officer.

Versions of the bill have been launched in each chambers of Congress in previous decades, and the measure was innovative out of the Household Veterans Affairs Committee in 2021. But Thursday’s action marks the initial important movement of the bill in the Senate.

Even as a lot more than 20 states have legalized marijuana for recreational use and at least 37 states permit health-related marijuana, the drug remains illegal at the federal degree, and the VA is not permitted to advise, prescribe or shell out for it.

Official VA policy says a veteran will not drop benefits for using marijuana and permits for dialogue about marijuana use concerning VA companies and sufferers, but advocates say the drug’s ambiguous lawful standing leaves veterans emotion stigmatized and not comfortable speaking about it with their medical practitioners.

A 2017 survey conducted by the American Legion observed that 22% of veterans were applying marijuana for medical applications and that 92% of veteran households supported investigate into health-related marijuana.

Less than the bill sophisticated Thursday, the VA would initial have to carry out an observational research that examines both equally the beneficial and adverse overall health outcomes for veterans making use of marijuana, together with whether or not those people veterans reduce their use of opiates or alcohol. The review would also have to appear at agony intensity, slumber top quality, agitation and all round excellent of daily life.

When the observational analyze is performed, the VA would have to report back again to Congress on the outcomes, including whether or not it thinks it can do a medical demo.

If the section then proceeds with a medical demo, the study would appear at how diverse varieties and strengths of the drug impact symptoms of chronic pain and submit-traumatic worry ailment.

“Lots of of our brave gentlemen and women in uniform experience from unseen wounds of war as a consequence of their sacrifices on behalf of our nation, wounds that generally manifest in publish-traumatic strain,” Sullivan stated in a assertion when the bill was launched. “We owe it to these courageous services users, earlier and present, to investigate and much better realize new solutions for these mental overall health worries that are protected and powerful, solutions that could give our suffering veterans hope.”

— Rebecca Kheel can be attained at [email protected] Adhere to her on Twitter @reporterkheel.

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