11 Nov Veteran Group Supports Medical Cannabis
Many veterans of war rely on cannabis to find relief from the disruptive symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. In its most recent survey, the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) found that about 22% of its respondents “said they were already using marijuana for medical purposes.”
IAVA used this data to support the recent amicus brief it filed to urge the Department of Veterans Affairs to conduct research of medical cannabis and prescribe it to qualifying patients.
Schedule I Status Hinders Medical Cannabis Research
For years, the VA has refused to accept the medical benefits of cannabis, even in states where it is legal. Their excuse? The fact that cannabis is classified as a Schedule I drug at the federal level. Advocates are speaking out against this in hopes of making a change.
“Our most recent survey showed 88% support for additional research into cannabis, and 84% believe that VA should drive that research,” says Travis Horr, director of government affairs for IAVA. “It is for these reasons that IAVA believes it is crucial to remove cannabis as a schedule 1 drug, to allow this research to be done and potentially provide much-needed relief for veterans.”
Research Could Save Lives
Veterans of war struggle with disturbing rates of mental illness and suicide. According to the Santa Cruz Veterans Alliance (SCVA), at least 22 veterans die by suicide every day. At the same time, studies have shown that cannabis may be useful in treating PTSD and reducing the likelihood of suicide. This only leads us to one conclusion: researching and prescribing cannabis to veterans could save lives. It’s the least we could do for those who have sacrificed so much emotional and physical pain for our country.
IAVA is doing incredible work to normalize cannabise use among veterans and influence Congress to pass new laws. You can support their work today by urging your representative to enact the bipartisn VA Medicinal Cannabis Research Act. Just click the button below: