Veterans and V.A. Marijuana Information

V.A. and Veteran Marijuana Issues

PTSD AND VETERANS: DEA APPROVES FIRST CLINICAL TRIALS IN U.S. HISTORY ON EFFECTS OF SMOKED MARIJUANA

At Feldmann Nagel, LLC, our team consists of several Armed Forces veterans that understand the unique marijuana-related challenges that veterans face, along with the difficulties those who have fought for our country endure as a result of the current V.A. prohibitions on access to medical marijuana. Congress has recently passed legislation supporting veterans’ rights to obtain the medical marijuana treatment they need, and the V.A. has indicated that its strict no-MMJ policy is on its way out the door – a massive victory for veterans, who simply want the same access to medical care that their citizen peers enjoy. At Feldmann Nagel, LLC, we understand the importance of fighting for those who have fought for us.

On April 21, 2016, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration greenlighted the first-ever study of the effects of smoked marijuana as treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder in veterans.

The study, which is funded by a $2 million grant from the state of Colorado, will be conducted by the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS). According to its website, the nonprofit research association is “working to demonstrate the safety and efficacy of smoked botanical marijuana as a prescription medicine for specific medical uses."

The study will evaluate the effects of various strains of marijuana on 76 veterans who experience treatment-resistant PTSD, and it comes at a time when veterans’ access to medical marijuana has been a hot-button issue. In the last year, several lawmakers have supported legislation that would allow veterans access to medical marijuana – a privilege their civilian peers enjoy – or, at a minimum, would prohibit the government on spending funds to prevent VA doctors from discussing use of marijuana as treatment with their veteran patients.

Currently, in order to receive VA coverage for certain prescription drugs, veterans may be subject to randomized drug tests, which require that marijuana not be present in the individual’s bloodstream in order to qualify for prescription coverage. Critics allege that this procedure, combined with the ban on veterans conversing with doctors regarding marijuana as treatment, unfairly penalizes veterans.

The MAPS trials, which are expected to begin as soon as this July, are the first steps in filling what supporters call a “much-needed gap in medical literature,” as the V.A. primarily justifies its anti-medical marijuana stance based on the lack of research regarding its effects on PTSD.

Marcel Bonn-Miller, at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine, will oversee the project. Half of the study will be conducted at the University of Arizona under Dr. Sue Sisley, with the other half at Johns Hopkins University, under Ryan Vandrey. The University of Colorado School of Medicine will participate in some aspects of the project as well.

Contact our team for any Veterans related information.

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