Majority of Military and Veterans Support VA Doctors Recommending Marijuana and Psychedelics

Military Support Marijuana Recommendations: An In-Depth Look

Hey there, fellow cannabis ! Today, we’re diving into a hot topic that’s been making waves in the world of veterans, active-duty personnel, and their families. The buzz is all about whether U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) doctors should be given the green light to recommend medical marijuana and psychedelics to patients if they believe it could provide therapeutic benefits.

Survey Insights

Now, let’s take a closer look at the survey conducted by Ohio State University (OSU). They polled a diverse group of participants, including active-duty military members, veterans, military family members, and civilians. In total, 1,168 individuals chimed in during late August and early September. The goal was to gauge the varying levels of support for different statements regarding medical marijuana and psychedelics.

The survey presented four statements related to marijuana and psychedelics:

  • Marijuana and psychedelics can effectively treat various medical conditions.
  • Doctors should be legally allowed to recommend marijuana and psychedelics, even without FDA approval, if they believe it would benefit the patient.
  • Doctors should be allowed to recommend marijuana and psychedelics, but only after FDA approval.
  • VA doctors should have the legal authority to recommend marijuana and psychedelics to veterans if they see it as beneficial.

Here’s the scoop: Strong majorities across the board agreed that these substances can indeed be effective treatments. But here’s the kicker – most preferred the idea of doctors having the freedom to recommend them, whether FDA approval was in the picture or not. Fewer were in favor of waiting for FDA approval, and that’s understandable, given the lengthy it can entail.

A Surprising Twist

Now, here’s where it gets interesting. The survey revealed that active-duty and veteran military members, while generally supportive of marijuana and psychedelics , were slightly less gung-ho about using historically illicit drugs as medical treatments compared to their family members and the general public.

The one question where military members and veterans took the lead was whether doctors should recommend these substances “only after FDA approval.” About half of the veterans agreed with this stance for marijuana, and 48 percent did for psychedelics.

Statements not contingent on FDA approval garnered more significant support from military family members and the general public. It’s quite the twist, right?

Legislative Developments

Now, let’s shift our focus to the legislative landscape. Over in Congress, lawmakers are sparring over whether to include provisions in a federal spending bill that would empower VA doctors to recommend medical marijuana to veterans residing in states where it’s legal. This reform mirrors a standalone bill championed by Representatives Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and Brian Mast (R-FL) – co-chairs of the Congressional Caucus.

The Veterans Equal Access Act has seen its fair share of introductions with support. It has even made progress through committees and floor approvals. Still, it hasn’t quite made it into law just yet. But Blumenauer, who’s retiring at the end of this Congress, remains committed to this cause, even as he pushes for broader .

VA’s Standpoint

In the ongoing battle of policies, it’s essential to mention the Veterans Affairs’ stance. They’ve raised eyebrows with their updated marijuana directive, which continues to prohibit VA doctors from recommending to veterans in states where it’s legal. This decision doesn’t sit well with some, especially in light of the VA’s recent clinical guidance on PTSD, which advises against medical cannabis use.

Many veterans have already turned to cannabis as a substitute for , citing improved quality of life and reduced use of certain medications, including opioids. VA’s guidance has evolved over the years, but this latest move has left some scratching their heads.

Senate Setback and New Horizons

Back in April, Senate Republicans blocked a procedural vote to advance a bill focused on VA research into the therapeutic potential of marijuana for veterans dealing with conditions like PTSD. While the medical cannabis recommendations didn’t fare well in the GOP-controlled House Committee, a Republican-led amendment made its way into the National Defense Authorization Act. This amendment requires Department of Defense (DOD) funding for clinical trials exploring the therapeutic potential of certain psychedelics for active-duty military members.

After some bicameral negotiations, this reform ultimately found its place in the final deal signed into law by President Joe Biden. It’s a sign that times are changing, folks!

Wrapping It Up

Alright, my fellow cannabis enthusiasts, it’s time to put a bow on this discussion. We’ve seen that there’s significant support among veterans, active-duty military members, and their families for VA doctors to recommend medical marijuana and psychedelics if they deem it beneficial.

As the cannabis landscape continues to evolve, it’s clear that policies are shifting, albeit at a pace that can sometimes feel frustratingly slow. But with lawmakers and advocates pushing for change, who knows what the future holds for veterans’ access to these alternative treatment options?

Before we sign off, I’d like to extend a heartfelt thanks to Ben Adlin for his valuable reporting on this topic. It’s folks like him who keep us informed and engaged in these critical conversations.

Stay tuned, stay informed, and let’s keep supporting our veterans in every way possible. Until next time, my friends!

Rosemary Puffman
I'm Rosemary, a staunch supporter of cannabis legalization and its potential benefits. My roles as a writer, cannabis entrepreneur, and informed investor allow me to contribute to the evolving narrative around cannabis. Through my writing, I aim to destigmatize and educate, while my business ventures and strategic investments align with my belief in the positive impact of responsible cannabis use.

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