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VA Approves Use of Medical Marijuana for Veterans | Cannabis and Veterans

Posted by Jason Draizin on 07/29/2010 in Medical Marijuana Laws

Even though medical marijuana is legal in 14 states and counting, veterans had not been allowed to use medical marijuana in fear that they would be denied services from VA hospitals and clinics, until now.

This week the Department of Veterans Affairs announced that patients treated at VA facilities may use medical marijuana in the states where it is legal, according to a new department directive set to take effect in the next week. This is a victory for many veterans, who had sought this policy for several years now. The VA still forbids its own doctors from recommending medical marijuana to their veteran patients, so veterans must find their own medical marijuana doctors to receive a cannabis recommendation.

Prior to this policy change, veterans could be denied services if they used illegal drugs, which included marijuana. But now, in the states that have legalized cannabis for medical use, veterans can medicate with marijuana without fear of losing any other benefits from the VA.

Medical marijuana is used to treat a variety of ailments, including cancer, chronic pain and PTSD, which, according to a 2008 Rand Corporation study, affects nearly 20% of veterans returning home from Iraq and Afghanistan.