The Department of Veterans Affairs has stated that it will not conduct research into whether medical marijuana could help veterans suffering from chronic pain and post-traumatic stress disorder. This announcement comes as veterans groups are pushing for use of the drug as an alternative to anti-depressants and opioids.
Secretary David Shulkin said that the department is hampered by the fact that the drug remains federally illegal and, thus, they cannot research medical marijuana.
At least 29 states plus Puerto Rico, the District of Columbia, and Guam have legalized medical marijuana use in some form.
The American Legion conducted a phone survey released in November 2017. 92 percent of households surveyed for the Legion said they support researching whether marijuana can effectively treat mental and physical conditions, and 82 percent said they want to have marijuana as a legal treatment option.
Secretary Shulkin stated that the VA is offering alternative treatments for patients with PTSD, including hypnosis, acupuncture, yoga, and meditation. The VA also has a program to reduce the amount of opioids prescribed to patients with chronic pain.