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VA Medicinal Cannabis Research Act: A Step Towards Legitimizing Medical Marijuana in the US

VA Medicinal Cannabis Research Act: A Step Towards Legitimizing Medical Marijuana in the US


The VA Medicinal Cannabis Research Act is a bill that seeks to improve the understanding of medicinal cannabis and its use within the Department of Veterans Affairs. The Senate version is co-sponsored by Senators Jon Tester (D -Mont.) and Dan Sullivan (R -Alaska), while Reps introduced an identical bill in the House last week. 

Marijuana is still illegal at the federal level, though more than twenty states have legalized it for recreational use, and at least thirty-seven allow medical marijuana. However, due to its ambiguous legal status, many veterans feel uncomfortable discussing cannabis with their VA doctors.

This bill represents a major step forward for legal marijuana in the United States, as it calls for an observational study to assess cannabis’ effects on veterans. The objective is to determine whether medicinal cannabis has any positive or negative health outcomes for veterans - such as reduced use of opiates or alcohol - and how it affects pain intensity, sleep quality, agitation, and overall quality of life.

Once the observational study is done the VA must report its findings to Congress regarding whether they believe it’s possible to do a clinical trial. If the department then moves ahead with a clinical trial, it would look into how different forms and strengths of cannabis affect symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder and chronic pain.

Ultimately, the passage of this bill could be a watershed moment for marijuana in the US. It would open up legal cannabis to further research and potentially pave the way for more comprehensive laws at the federal level - allowing states to move ahead with their own programs without fear of disruption from Washington. The VA Medicinal Cannabis Research Act could be a major turning point for marijuana in this country, and the results of the research it sponsors could have profound implications on how we view cannabis moving forward. 

It is important to note that the bill does not provide veterans any access to medicinal cannabis nor expand its use within VA facilities. This means that even if the study yields positive results, veterans still need to obtain cannabis from a state-approved dispensary. With this in mind, the VA Medicinal Cannabis Research Act is a vital step forward in understanding and potentially legitimizing medicinal cannabis within American institutions. 


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