Tester, Sullivan, Roe & Walz Push VA to Study Medical Cannabis as Alternative Therapy for Veterans with PTSD or Chronic Pain

Members: Veterans Counting on VA to Ensure Safe, Effective Treatment

(Washington D.C.) - U.S. Senators Jon Tester (D-Mont.), Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) and Representatives Phil Roe (TN-01) and Tim Walz (MN-01) are urging the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to begin clinical trials to better understand the potential benefits or dangers of medical cannabis use.

In a letter to VA Secretary Robert Wilkie, the members ask him to begin a large-scale study as soon as possible, so veterans using medical cannabis to treat post-traumatic stress disorder and chronic pain can better understand its effects and VA doctors can provide better guidance to their patients.

"The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is already conducting multiple small-scale studies into the potential health benefits of medicinal cannabis, and we believe VA has the authority, ability and capacity to carry out such a study," they wrote. "Many of our nation's veterans already use medicinal cannabis, and they deserve to have full knowledge of the potential benefits and side effects of this alternative therapy."

The Congressmen noted that in the midst of the opioid crisis, many veterans are already using medical cannabis to treat pain and PTSD, and have found it an effective alternative to traditional painkillers. One recent study found patients using cannabis experienced a 75 percent reduction in PTSD symptoms. But without concrete data, VA doctors can't provide full, fact-based guidance to their patients. 

"We strongly encourage VA to take its cues from veterans, who, according to The American Legion's survey of its membership, overwhelmingly support research into medicinal cannabis,"the members added. "We, and all of our nation's veterans, look forward to your prompt response."

You can read the full letter to Secretary Wilkie HERE.