Veterans in Conversation about Cannibis
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The conversation regarding cannabis use is one that used to be fraught with tension regarding varying opinions and values. For veterans, the conversation is heating up. Although medical doctors don’t have permission yet to specifically encourage the usage of the drug, they are, by policy, mandated to be in conversation about it with military veterans. The policy is expected to take effect this month, right before the new year turns. The policy states that there’s a responsibility to “discuss with the Veteran marijuana use, due to its clinical relevance to patient care, and discuss marijuana use with any Veterans requesting information about marijuana." At the same time, this policy does not give veterans the ability to disregard federal law. A law that is mentioned is the Controlled Substances Act. It is stated that providers from the government that help veterans are “prohibited from completing forms or registering Veterans for participation in a State-approved marijuana program."

V.A. Sec. David Shulki reports that there isn’t a law that specifically prohibits doctors from engaging in conversation or to recommend and present completed paperwork in states where that action is legal. Even if cannabis is not federally allowed.  In 2003, the U.S. Supreme Court created a federal ruling, ensuring that doctors have a First Amendment right to recommend medical cannabis to patients, as long as they don't actually provide marijuana. This is something that has changed the course of medicine, especially in minors. One piece of the puzzle that isn’t in step quite yet is that doctors working in compliance with the government, is that the Veterans Affairs ’s office does not yet allow it. That is expected to change in the upcoming months. Shulki reports that some evidence that this is beginning to be helpful, and we're interested in looking at that and learning from that. He later concedes that, “until time the federal law changes, we are not able to be able to prescribe medical marijuana for conditions that may be helpful.”

It does seem to point that conversation about the issue has become a turning point in the issue. Although it remains to be seen exactly what this will mean for future generations, the fact that the government and medical doctors are looking forward to reach a balance is a good thing.