Medical Marijuana Moves One Step Closer to Helping Veterans
Posted by Vets National Advocates on May 28, 2015 in Veterans News
Veterans may soon have access to a new type of medical treatment that was previously barred from the discussion: medical marijuana.
The Senate Appropriations Committee voted this week to back the Veterans Equal Access Amendment, which would allow Veterans Affairs (VA) doctors to recommend the controversial treatment for everything from back pain to depression and flashbacks.
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The new legislation would overturn the VAs current policy forbidding its doctors from even discussing medical marijuana with patients.
Senator Steve Daines (R-Mont.) introduced the legislation under the argument that it is unconstitutional to forbid doctors from talking about the treatment with veterans. He says First Amendment rights include the right for a patient to discuss anything he/she wants with their doctor.
He considers the current policy as discrimination against veterans simply because they are in the care of the VA. Physicians and pain specialists who treat veterans say they often want to recommend the use of medical marijuana, but this practice is not allowed.
Veterans in support of the proposal say medical marijuana is safer and better than the often addictive and debilitating painkillers that are generally prescribed.
Although medical marijuana is legal in 23 states and the District of Columbia, it is classified by the Federal government as a Schedule I drug similar to heroin and LSD. That classification means it has no medical use and has a high potential for abuse.
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