The use of cannabis by Veterans has presented the Department of Veterans Affairs with an interesting dilemma.
On the one hand, Cannabis has been shown to provide relief from Post Traumatic Stress, Traumatic Brain Injury and chronic and severe pain. On the other hand the DVA is a Federal agency bound by federal law under which cannabis is illegal.
Their current policy, while reflective of federal prohibition especially concerning the possession of cannabis on federal property, has allowed physicians to discuss a veteran’s use of cannabis as part of their treatment plan but does not allow any physician to sign any paperwork authorizing the use of cannabis under a state program and cannot recommend its use and as with any Schedule I Controlled Substance, cannot prescribe its use.
Even in light of this policy, the DVA will not refuse treatment or restrict benefits for veterans that do use cannabis as an adjunct to their treatment plan.
Oregon Veterans that participate in Oregon’s Medical Marijuana Program have not experienced any particular difficulty with service or benefits and have worked with their Patient Advocate when necessary.
We are extremely fortunate to have Congressman Blumenauer (D- Oregon Dist. 3) as a strong advocate to allow VA physicians to serve this particular demographic of patients under VA care.
Congressman Blumenauer’s amendment to the DVA spending bill was approved by the Veteran’s committees in both chambers yet failed to be adopted by the full conference committee and was not included in the final spending bill.
We look forward to his success.