V.A. and Veteran Marijuana Issues
PTSD AND VETERANS: DEA APPROVES FIRST CLINICAL TRIALS IN U.S. HISTORY ON
EFFECTS OF SMOKED MARIJUANA
At Cantafio & Song PLLC, 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 Cantafio
and Song, PLLC, 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
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.