Fight For Those Who Fought For You

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A Call to Reason

As Veterans of the United States Armed Forces we call on the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) to fully recognize cannabis as a viable treatment option. Leaders are increasingly aware of the devastation to former military members (and their families) caused by inappropriate prescription of opiates, SSRIs, Benzodiazepines, and other pharmaceuticals. In July of 2010, the VHA established internal policy officially outlining their position on cannabis, allowing physicians in “legal” states to discuss its use with their patients, at their own discretion.

Multiple attempts have been made to resolve the inability of veterans to incorporate cannabis into their official treatment plans. Each and every one of these attempts have been sabotaged. The VHA needs to take action on this issue. Federal leadership in the executive and legislative branches of our government need to understand the enormity of this pharmaceutical impact and available remedy. The fact is, veterans are self-medicating with cannabis. Most turn to cannabis after pharmaceutical options, some of which include warnings of suicidal ideation, fail.

We have an opportunity to expand the conversation into areas such as MST, TBI, CTE, and other issues veterans face beyond PTS. The many growers we have in our network can provide information on the benefits of using real world cannabis for research, as opposed to the currently mandated NIDA cannabis. Also, these growers can break down strains, and potency of cannabis being used real time, by veterans across the country.

Veterans farming cannabis should be supported by the Department of Agriculture, with programs sponsored by the VHA. Veterans are being forced into criminal behavior to heal themselves. Trial and error are how veterans learn about their cannabis medicine… in legal and, outlaw states. Service members are also losing their benefits before they even enter into veteran status, due to positive THC urinalysis. This leads to untreated mental health issues, among other hardships suffered by veterans who are literally being left to fend for themselves. This situation is untenable.

Because the VHA is a federal program, operating in all fifty states, veterans are federal patients and require equal medical treatment/access to cannabis, regardless of state laws. Accordingly, an expansion of existing VHA policy which would meet our needs is in order. The status quo is medically unethical.

It all boils down to our care is subpar. So, what do we need?

We require:

*Unobstructed ability to engage in open and honest dialogue with our VHA Primary Care Teams about our use of cannabis, where we can then develop proper treatment plans, documenting our experiences;

*The ability to participate in research programs conducted by VHA, which would further assist us in our understanding of medical cannabis, and how to best introduce it into our treatment regimen;

*The ability to receive recommendations for cannabis from our VHA Doctors, should that be the agreed upon treatment plan;

*Prescriptions from the VHA filled at local dispensaries, or where dispensaries are not located/permitted, getting those scripts filled at the VHA Pharmacy;

*A cannabis farm at every major VHA healthcare facility designed to teach veterans about their medication, how to grow it, and to supply the hospital Pharmacy;

*Alternative therapies to be included throughout the VHA, but not limited to: Meditation, Yoga, BJJ, Krav Maga, Boxing, Culinary Classes, Hiking, Fly Fishing, Chiropractic Care, Acupuncture, Massage, Reiki, IET, etc.. so we can maintain our mental and physical health.

We are urging Congress and the VHA to take action to protect the health and safety of veterans by de-scheduling cannabis, to ensure cannabis is available as a first line option for Veterans healthcare in all 50 States and Territories of the U.S.

Will you join us in our fight?