For more than a year, The American Legion has been calling on the federal government – and specifically the Veterans Affairs Department – to support research into the therapeutic benefits of cannabis in treating veterans with PTSD.
Many veterans, especially Iraq and Afghanistan combat veterans, have told both the Legion and NORML that they have been able to eliminate or reduce their dependency on other drugs, specifical opioids.
Now, the Legion is ramping up their efforts to convince VA Secretary David Shulkin to expand research into the therapeutic and medicinal effects of cannabis.
In a letter sent yesterday and released publicly today, they state:
Dear Mr. Secretary:
For more than a year, the American Legion has called on the federal government to support and enable scientific research to clinically confirm the medicinal value of cannabis. The National Academy of Medicine recently reviewed 10,000 scientific abstracts on the therapeutic value of cannabis and reached nearly 100 conclusions in a report issued earlier this year. As a two million member strong veteran service organization, our primary interest and advocacy is grounded in the wellbeing and improved health of our veterans, and specifically our service disabled veterans.
The American Legion supports VA’s statutory medical research million and has donated millions of dollars toward expanding VA’s scientific research. VA innovation is widely championed for its breakthrough discoveries in medicine and has been recognized over the years with three Nobel Prizes for scientific work that has benefitted the world over.
Your immediate attention in this important matter is greatly appreciated. We ask for your direct involvement to ensure this critical research is fully implemented.
Denis H. Rohan
This comes just one month after the Legion adopted a resolution calling on federal officials to expand veterans’ access to medical marijuana.
NORML has documented the longitudinal data on how cannabis access is associated with reduced rates of opioid use and abuse, opioid-related hospitalizations, opioid-related traffic fatalities, and opioid-related overdose deaths
You can read the full letter to VA urging cannabis research access here.
Earlier this year, a budget amendment that reflected the Veterans Equal Access Act’s language was introduced by Senator Daines (R-MT) and passed in the Senate Appropriations Committee and introduced by Rep. Blumenauer and blocked in the House Rules Committee.
The amendments fate will likely be decided in a joint conference committee later this year.