In the past few years, talk of the use of Marijuana in the medical field has been gaining momentum among many people, especially among veterans seeking treatment for conditions such as PTSD. The use has also been gaining support from organizations such as the American Legion, but the Veterans Administration (VA) have come out and said that they would like to study the issue, but as it stands now, they cannot.
While Military.com, who reported on this latest issue of using marijuana for PTSD and chronic pain issues, the Department of Veterans Administration Secretary, David Shulkin stated that the VA could not explore the possibilities of the drug that may help U.S.
veterans because of one reason, marijuana use is still against Federal and in some states, laws.
Surprising to many, marijuana is still labeled as a Schedule 1 drug, alongside cocaine, heroin, and other hardcore illegal drugs.
Shulkin's letter to Congress
Shulkin wrote a memo to lawmakers in the U.S. House of Representatives in stating the Law is the problem and since marijuana still against the law, they have no way of doing any beneficial research on the drug’s effectiveness to help the nation’s veterans battling a mirage of medical conditions.
He later testified in front of the Veterans' Affairs Committee in the U.S. Senate and told them that since the drug is a Schedule 1, it means, in that category, none of those drugs have any medical use and creates a number of governing difficulties that the Veterans Administration has to overcome in order to retrieve and do any well-meaning research with them.
Shulkin told the Senate, “We have to go through multiple agencies, and it is very challenging to work our way through that process.” He further told them that they would have to change the law in order to make it easier for the VA to begin any research. One Democrat in the House, Rep. Tim Walz, (D-MN) called out Shulkin and said that what Shulkin said was nothing more than "frivolous."
And then said, that just because it’s difficult, doesn’t mean that the VA should not do the research. Advocates for investigating medical marijuana believe reasonable studies into cannabis could uncover whether those claims are conceivable and if they are, that the results possibly will provide additional validity to the therapeutic marijuana lobby movement for every American that is in need of such therapy when other medications fail.
Supporters of expanded access to the therapeutic medical marijuana have not yet had any success in getting Congress to rework the federal drug policy, especially in getting marijuana out of the Schedule 1 designation.
Rep. Walz and some veterans’ [VIDEO] associations were hoping that Shulkin's inclusion would encourage the advancement of researching and gaining acceptance of medical marijuana.
Walz allegedly had asked Shulkin for support back in October 2017, but as reported above, Shulkin told him that the Veteran Administration was restricted and that federal laws prohibited the VA from sending veterans to participate in non-Veterans Administration facilities research studies on the use of “medical marijuana.”
Medical marijuana research and supporters
Scottsdale Research Institute (SRI) in Arizona, using U.S. veterans for study subjects, did begin studies on how marijuana can help these veterans and are hoping that once the study is complete, it will show whether or not it can help veterans suffering from PTSD.
However, due to the restrictions by law, Scottsdale Research Institute is having issues finding an adequate number of veterans to enroll in their study as the VA in Phoenix are prohibited from sending their veteran patients to the study. The principal investigator at the Scottsdale Research Institute stated that if the VA does not do its own research, then they can support the institute’s research that is already in progress.
Louis Celli, the American Legion national director said that she sent a letter to Shulkin to allow veterans at the Phoenix VA to be referred to the Scottsdale Research Institute for research but has yet to receive a response. The American Legion is presently working to get Congress to act to remove marijuana as a Schedule 1 drug.
Navy Seal veteran and founder of “Veterans Cannabis Project,” Nick Etten stated that the Veterans Administration, as well as lawmakers, need to look at the medical marijuana issue as a healthcare policy matter and to get the politics out of it, change the law, and to help those veterans in need.