A bill introduced in the House last week would allow doctors affiliated with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to prescribe marijuana for the treatment of conditions, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), to veterans in states where the drug has been legalized for medical purposes.
H.R. 5762, also known as the Veterans Equal Access Act, is a bipartisan measure introduced by Reps. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) and Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.), along with 10 cosponsors. The measure would authorize VA physicians and other health care providers to provide recommendations and opinions regarding the use of marijuana to veterans who live in medical marijuana states.
Current VA policy prohibits its medical providers from completing forms brought by their patients seeking such recommendations or opinions in order to get cannabis from a marijuana dispensary. The bill has been referred to the House Committee on Veterans Affairs where it is awaiting further action.
A 2012 VA report found that almost 30% of veterans who served in the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts suffer from PTSD. And a study published earlier this year in the Journal of Psychoactive Drugs found that patients with PTSD who smoked cannabis saw their PTSD symptoms decline an average of 75%.
“A clinical trial needs to be done to see what proportion and what kind of PTSD patients benefit, with either cannabis or the main active ingredients of cannabis,” George Greer, MD, a psychiatrist in private practice in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and one of the study’s authors, told the Huffington Post.
Twenty-three states now have medical marijuana laws on the books, and ten of those states allow physicians to recommend marijuana for the treatment of PTSD.
A bill introduced in Congress would allow Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) doctors to recommend medical marijuana for their patients.
The Veterans Equal Access Act, introduced by Reps. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) and Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.) with 10 bipartisan cosponsors last week, would lift a ban on VA doctors giving opinions or recommendations about medical marijuana to veterans who live in states where medical marijuana is permitted.