Why Aren’t American Veterans Allowed to Treat Their PTSD with Medical Marijuana?


His home country Israel currently has a progressive stance on medical cannabis for soldiers in the Israel Defense Forces. IDF reserve troops who hold a medical marijuana prescription are allowed to use it even while on active duty, a policy in line with Israel’s efforts to liberalize medical marijuana in light of new research…

In 2010, disabled Air Force veteran Michael Krawitz and his advocacy group, Veterans for Medical Marijuana, publicly campaigned to change the VA’s marijuana policy. Reforming federal law was a virtual impossibility in the short run, but Krawitz sought to work with the VA to establish a middle ground that would allow veterans to use cannabis in conjunction with prescriptions and keep doctors on the right side of federal law. The VA responded by issuing a new directive that explicitly prevented doctors from cutting state-level medical marijuana patients off from prescription drugs, and instead requires monitoring of all cannabis consumption. Doctors are still barred from recommending or prescribing cannabis, but within the bounds of the law, this is pretty much the best the VA can do…

And last year, the House of Representatives rejected a measure that would have allowed VA doctors to recommend medical marijuana to patients. That bill’s sponsor, California Democrat Dana Rohrabacher, presented a similar measure in November called the Veterans Equal Access Act. Its passage is a tall order considering the Republican takeover of Congress.

For now, veterans with PTSD who have a medical marijuana prescription can balance their pharmaceutical drugs with cannabis self-medication. But that still leaves those who live in medical marijuana states that don’t include PTSD as an “approved condition” for cannabis treatment, along with vets in the 27 states that still prohibit cannabis completely. That’s thousands of people who will continue to be prescribed a host of pills and all the side effects that come with them rather than a plant that offers the prospect of at least some relief…

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