By: Amber Blacharski

Medical Cannabis is now legal in 33 states and Washington D.C. Despite its legal status on the state level, for Military Veterans the decision to use medicinal cannabis puts them at risk of losing their Veteran's benefits. You see, the Department of Veterans Affairs (V.A.) still operates under Federal laws which means the V.A. hospitals still operate under federal law and do not condone the use of medical cannabis. Cannabis prohibition holds veterans back from seeking medical cannabis as an alternative or supplemental therapy. And for medical cannabis consumers, they fear sharing their cannabis treatment with their V.A. doctor even in states where medical cannabisislegal.

Why Do Veterans Use Medical Cannabis?

The Department of Veterans Affairs (V.A.)reports60% of veterans returning from combat in the Middle East and 50% of older veterans suffer from chronic pain every day. They alsoreportabout 20% of Veterans of the Middle Eastern wars, 12% of Gulf War Veterans, and 15% of Vietnam War Veterans suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Well, chronic pain is the number one reason medical cannabis license holders use medical cannabis, saysresearchpublished in theJournal of Health Affairs. And, there aregrowing numbers of people using cannabis for PTSD. Federal research restrictions prevent enough back up to demonstrate the effectiveness of medical cannabis for either of these debilitating conditions. There are still veterans, however, that turn to medical cannabis as an alternative or supplement to medications prescribed by V.A. doctors. So, It's no surprise that...

The Veteran's Community Supports Medical Cannabis Research and Legal Medical Cannabis

A thousand-plus Military Veterans, family members, and caregivers across the nation were surveyed by an independent public opinion research company in 2017. Thatsurvey,reportedbyThe American Legion, revealed that 92% of the veterans' community supports medical cannabis research and 83% supports federal legalization. Survey respondents spread across ages, gender, military branch, and political affiliation, 60% of whom don't live in states where medical cannabis is currently legal.

Why Should You Advocate Medical Cannabis for Veterans?

For many veterans, their reality is filled with managing chronic pain and PTSD and medical cannabis has the potential to help manage their suffering. They're not just looking to "get high." They are seeking an opportunity to simply function without feeling impaired. So, they need people like you to join forces with the many organizations advocating for the medical marijuana rights of military veterans.

How Can You Advocate Medical Cannabis for Veterans?

Here are two well established and hardworking organizations advocating for veterans' access to medical cannabis:

Safe Access Colorado

Join, volunteer, or donate to the Colorado chapter ofAmericans for Safe Access.

Their Mission: "Educate regarding the benefits and risks of medical marijuana; stop the discrimination of medical marijuana patients by private persons and the state; and fight to ensure safe regulated access (and eventually insurance coverage) for medical marijuana patients."

Visitsafeaccesscolorado.orgto get involved!

Veterans' Cannabis Coalition

Support legislative reforms, advocate to end cannabis prohibition, and provide equal access for veterans by donating to the organization and writing your legislators. And if you are a veteran, share your personal story of the impact medical cannabis has had on your life with congress. This organization makes it easy to make your voice heard.

Their mission: "The Veterans Cannabis Coalition is dedicated to ensuring that veterans have access to the medicine they need without fear or stigmatization. We are focused on engaging stakeholders, educating policymakers and the public, and advocating for fair and equitable cannabis laws."

Visitveteranscannacoalition.orgto advocate!

Conclusion

The federal cannabis prohibition keeping veterans from seeking medical cannabis as an alternative or supplemental therapy is far from over. But that doesn't mean that you can't make a difference. Veterans need people like you who are willing to stand up and advocate. Your support will ultimately improve the lives of those people who protected ours.

We love and have much gratitude for U.S. veterans at The Green Solution! If you are a veteran, stop by or reserve an order atyour local TGSfor our 15% off every day veterans discount. And, keep an eye out for our Veteran's Day deals in November.

Quick Fact

Curing Cannabis Plants- This very gradual drying process involves moderate humidity and mild temperatures, preserving the dimensionality of cannabis plants and the consumption experience. The better and more gradual the curing process, the more sophisticated a grower's yields become, including preserved aromas, flavors, and potency.