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Cannabis is still identified as a Schedule I drug under the Controlled Substances Act. As of Feb. 3, 2022, 37 states, three territories and the District of Columbia allow for the medical use of cannabis products. For years, veterans have claimed the benefits of cannabis for conditions they suffer–often as a result of military service. Veterans seeking relief for conditions such as chronic pain and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which may be resistant to more conventional treatments, are eager to have additional options that may improve the quality of their lives.

Bipartisan companion bills, H.R. 1003 and S. 326, the VA Medicinal Cannabis Research Act of 2023, would require VA to conduct randomized clinical trials into the effectiveness of cannabis on improving certain health outcomes for veterans with chronic pain and PTSD. Specifically, for veterans diagnosed with chronic pain, the bills would identify the effects of cannabis on osteopathic pain, sleep quality, inflammation, and agitation in addition to the effects on the use of alcohol, benzodiazepines, and opioids while the trial is ongoing. For veterans diagnosed with PTSD, the study would identify the effects of the trial on measures in standardized PTSD clinical scales, alcohol, and benzodiazepine use in addition to social functioning, mood, sleep, and suicidal ideation. The trials may also investigate the longer-term effects of cannabis on other medical conditions.

DAV Resolution No. 128 calls for support of more comprehensive and scientifically rigorous research by the VA into the therapeutic benefits and risks of cannabis and cannabis-derived products as a possible treatment for service-related conditions.

Please contact your Representative and Senators and urge them to co-sponsor and support H.R. 1003 and S. 326. Thank you for your support of our nation’s ill and injured veterans.