Politicians Push VA Secretary to Study Medicinal Cannabis


Last week, U.S. Congressman Tim Walz (D-MN) – plus nine of his Democratic colleagues on the House Committee on Veterans Affairs – requested scientists at the Veterans Affairs (VA) be allowed to perform research on marijuana’s many terpenes and cannabinoids.

Potentially aiding America’s veterans suffering from chronic pain and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), Walz sent a request to VA Secretary David Shulkin on Oct. 26 in the form of a letter; asserting the veterans administration “is uniquely situated to pursue research on the impact of medical marijuana on veterans suffering from chronic pain and PTSD.”

Walz was joined in signing the letter by Reps. Mark Takano (D-CA), Julia Brownley (D-CA), Ann Kuster (D-NH), Beto O’Rourke (D-TX), Kathleen Rice (D-NY), J. Luis Correa (D-CA), Kilili Sablan (I-Northern Mariana Islands), Elizabeth Esty, (D-CT), and Scott Peters (D-CA).

History of Breakthroughs at the ORD

Since the VA first established its Office of Research and Development (ORD) in 1925, the group’s inquisitive scientists have been credited with making some fairly innovative discoveries: the implantable cardiac pacemaker, the nicotine patch, a vaccine for shingles, and therapies for treating tuberculosis – just to name a few.

Now, Walz and his cohorts want the VA’s scientific research wing to study medical marijuana as a treatment option for chronic pain and PTSD.

On point and pulling no punches, the letter fired off by the concerned lawmakers from the Committee on Veterans Affairs noted: “[The] VA’s pursuit of research into the impact of medical marijuana on the treatment of veterans diagnosed with PTSD who are also experiencing chronic pain is integral to the advancement of health care for veterans and the Nation.”

The second letter in as many months to land on Sec. Shulkin’s desk, in late September, Dennis Rohan of the American Legion also sent a letter to Shulkin requesting the VA support FDA-approved marijuana/PTSD research.

Photo courtesy of Allie Beckett

About Author

My name is Monterey Bud and I was born in Long Beach and raised on the central coast. I surf, dab, burn and write. I'm a husband, a father and a lifelong consumer of connoisseur grade weed. I have been writing about marijuana strains, science, and politics for Marijuana.com since 2012. A Big Sur cultivator from the pre-helicopter days, I'm a big fan of new strains and breaking news. I can be reached on Twitter @MontereyBud


    • Just because the government is getting involved, you’ve already discounted its legitimacy? How narrow-minded of you. It’s called progress, Eric. The fact that they’re even attempting to explore the benefits of cannabis on the federal level is much more important than your petty concerns.

  1. The problem as I see it: When Government officials begin speaking seriously about medical Canabis they immediately want to break it down to components. They sight CBD Oil, and marinol. You have to come back with, Opioid crisis as caused by Big Pharma, because if its not grown, harvested, distributed, and retailed by pro Medical Canabis system, Big Pharma will buy out the patents (if the government hasn’t already sweet hearted them), seize the entire system jack up prices, remove anything that isn’t one specific chemical to maximize their sales and profits, leaving the Veteran hanging. Sell it on Farmers having a cash crop, and taxes and economy improvements besides the health of the Veteran not dependent on a system, not designed to cure a patient, but to addict and string out medication keeping Veterans on a puppet string under Big Pharma control. They don’t want to heal you, just ensure an income stream.

    • I hope the government will open up more research into the use of Cannabis. However, I have the same worry regarding how this maybe handled or play out.

  2. Being a combat wounded Afghanistan ’09 veteran and a cannabis user, I can honestly sit here and say that marijuana has saved my life. After breaking my neck (literally/c2) from a roadside bomb, the veterans administration started prescribing me meds like percocet, fentanyl and morphine; I was loaded every day. It wasnt until I got out of the Marine Corps did I ever actually have a chance at using alternative treatments. I never smoked or did anything like that in high school – so, for me to pick this up as a habit at almost 30 years old is a testament to marijuana not always falling into an easily defined social stereotype; some people are different. The veterans administration needs to legalize this for veterans at the very least, if not for the rest of this great country. I bet our (veterans) daily suicide rates would decrease. Marijuana is not a gateway drug – I think its time (2017) we shed our minds of such an ignorant social stereotype that we all have of marijuana and those that use it. Politicians need to open their minds and stop judging people. Marijuana works; you’re only delaying the inevitable.

    • CeAnne Ryding-Becker on

      Marijuana is a gateway drug…a gateway to getting off of the dangerous and highly addictive opioid drugs.
      Thank you for your service.

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