The Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) won’t be conducting any marijuana research into the benefits of the plant due to fear of being caught by federal law, or so it implies.
Specifically, the research would be supporting the cause of veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and chronic pain. However, Department of Veterans Affairs, Secretary David Shulkin, said the VA’s ability research medical marijuana is limited by the fact the drug is federally illegal. A letter by ten Democrats on the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee have asked the department to develop their research, but it was denied by the VA, Washington Post reports.
“For several years the American Legion has been pressing the federal government to remove cannabis from Schedule I of Controlled Substances Act so that medical investigators could research the drug and its efficacy in treating Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome, chronic pain and other illnesses that affect veterans,” Joe Plenzler, Director of Media Relations for the American Legion, told The Cannabist by phone.
Currently, medical research into the benefits of marijuana is dampened by federal law due to marijuana classified as a Schedule 1 drug along with substances like heroin. Nevertheless, House Veterans’ Affairs Committee said research is not restricted, and there must be proof determined through research the drug is actually benefiting veterans.
U.S. Rep. Tim Walz, the House committee’s ranking member, said in a statement: “VA’s response not only failed to answer our simple question, but they made a disheartening attempt to mislead me, my colleagues and the veteran community in the process.” He said a letter will be sent to Shulkin again for clarification.