On Thursday, the Senate Appropriations Committee passed an amendment that would allow Veterans Affairs doctors to discuss and recommend marijuana as a potential medical treatment in states where it is legal, according to the Military Times.
That’s similar to the allowances given civilian physicians in medical marijuana states.
The move marks the second time senators tried to improve access to medical marijuana for veterans who are treated at VA medical facilities and want to use marijuana for medical purposes, the Military Times reported.
Thirty days after Washington state voters passed Initiative 502 in 2012, adult possession of marijuana by adults 21 and older was legalized. In the three-plus years since legalization, the first retail marijuana store opened its doors on July 8, 2014.
In the two years since pot’s legalization, the “sky is falling” mentality toward marijuana has dissipated like second-hand smoke, and the discussion is transitioning more to use of marijuana as a natural treatment for certain medical conditions.
According to Business Insider, various studies have found certain medical benefits from marijuana, including for the following medical conditions:
• Treatment of post traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD. Marijuana is approved to treat PTSD in some states already. In New Mexico, PTSD is the number one reason people obtain a license for medical marijuana. Naturally occurring cannabinoids, similar to THC, help regulate the system that causes fear and anxiety in the body and brain.
• Treatment and prevention of glaucoma, a disease which increases pressure in the eyeball, damaging the optic nerve and causing loss of vision. According to the National Eye Institute, studies in the early 1970s showed that, when smoked, marijuana decreased intraocular pressure in those with glaucoma and may slow the progression of the disease and prevent blindness;
• Prevention of epileptic seizures. A 2003 study at the Virginia Commonwealth University, gave marijuana extract and synthetic marijuana to epileptic rats. Drugs containing marijuana extract and synthetic marijuana prevented seizures in rats for about 10 hours. THC is believed to control seizures by binding to the brain cells responsible for controlling excitability and regulating relaxation. The findings were published in the Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics.
Other benefits, according to the Business Insider website, include a slowing in the progression of cancer, decrease in pain in nausea for chemotherapy patients, decrease in arthritis discomfort and to slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease, relieves symptoms of lupus.
If using medical marijuana will improve the medical conditions and comfort of our military veterans, then the federal government needs to get past its outdated view of pot as a Schedule I drug and allow vets access for treatment purposes through their VA doctors.