In a surprising move, doctors who work for the Department of Veterans Affairs will now be allowed to discuss the benefits of medical marijuana with their patients, according to Military.com.

Unfortunately, doctors will still not be able to prescribe or recommend marijuana for veterans suffering from conditions like PTSD and chronic pain, but they’ll at least be allowed to discuss what medical marijuana can help with. Doctors previously could have been fired for even bringing up the idea of using medical marijuana to treat an ailment.

Doctors will also be able to discuss “how marijuana may impact other aspects of the overall care of the veteran such as how marijuana may interact with other medications the veteran is taking,” the VA said. This is a major change for the VA, and it has already received praise from veteran groups.

“I applaud the VA in taking this bold move toward treating veterans and also fulfilling resolutions passed by The American Legion,” said American Legion National Commander Denise H. Rohan. “We do not support recreational use of drugs, but we do think the medicinal possibilities of cannabis should not be ignored by the VA. We are all about putting the health of veterans first.”

The VA claimed in this directive that it can’t let doctors prescribe medical marijuana, because marijuana is illegal at the federal level, but that doesn’t appear to be true. Tom Angell, founder of Marijuana Majority, pointed out in Forbes that the VA claiming it can’t legally let doctors prescribe medical marijuana is false.

“No provision of federal law blocks the department from allowing its doctors to fill out medical cannabis recommendation forms in states where it is legal, even under continued federal prohibition,” Angell wrote. “In 2003, the U.S. Supreme Court let stand a federal ruling finding that doctors have a First Amendment right to recommend medical cannabis to patients, as long as they don’t actually provide marijuana. The only thing standing in the way of government doctors recommending medical cannabis to veterans is the V.A.’s own internal policy, which the the department’s Veterans Health Administration just extended with the new directive.”

[Photo by United States Army/Wikimedia]

About The Author

Thor Benson is a traveling writer currently based in Los Angeles. His writing has been featured in Vice, The Atlantic, The Daily Beast and elsewhere. He can be found in a run-down whiskey bar. Follow him on Twitter at: @thor_benson.

Related Posts

Leave a Reply