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House Finally Approves Medical Marijuana And Psychedelics Research For Veterans

Veterans in the United States finally have something to celebrate in reference to cannabis as a medication and normalization. This week, the House of Representatives approved an amendment to allow medical marijuana to be recommended by VA doctors and research into psychedelics for veterans through a voice vote.

This long-awaited legislation has been years in the making and marks a significant victory for those who care about providing our veterans with access to potentially life-saving treatments. The approval of the amendments follows several years of debate over whether veterans should be able to receive medical cannabis recommendations from VA doctors or if psychedelic-assisted therapies could help those who have PTSD and other mental illnesses.

Legislation allowing for medical cannabis had been introduced in Congress multiple times previously. Still, it was never able to make it further than a commitment discussion about which, if any, version would make it to the floor for a vote.

What are the Amendments?

The amendment sponsored by the Congressional Cannabis Caucus—Reps Brian Mast (R-FL), Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Dave Joyce (R-OH), and Barbara Lee (D-CA)—will allow VA doctors to suggest medical cannabis as a treatment for veterans in states where medical marijuana is legal.

Currently, most VA doctors are prohibited from completing forms in compliance with state medical marijuana programs, preventing veterans from accessing this care option.

Rep Brain Mast (FL) said, “The Department of Veterans Affairs that does not allow their primary care physicians, their post-deployment clinics, to discuss the medical treatment options, and work with them through the paperwork for those medical treatment options that are actually available in their states,” Mast said. “If they’re not working with their doctors to do that, then you have to ask yourself who is it that they would be working with to do that for medical treatment.”

The approved psychedelics amendment by Reps Lou Correa (D-CA) and Jack Bergman (R-MI) also allows for research into psychedelics to be conducted at VA facilities in hopes of better understanding how these substances can help treat mental health disorders in veterans like PTSD. Veterans have welcomed the measure as a step toward unlocking groundbreaking therapies and treatments that could save lives.

Jack Bergman (R-MI), a co-sponsor of the measure, voiced his enthusiasm in a statement saying,

“If psychedelic-assisted therapy can treat a veteran’s PTSD or prevent them from taking their own life, then we owe it to them to take an active role in researching these potentially life-saving therapies.” “This amendment will unlock potential treatments that have been shown to actually cure PTSD—something current medicine and modern psychology have been unable to do—and give our veterans a chance to live a long, happy life that we all take for granted.”

Benefits of Legislation for Veterans

The legislation has been welcomed by many as a step towards improving the overall well-being of our country’s veterans. It will provide veterans with access to treatments for medical challenges that may not have been available in the past and has the potential to unlock life-saving therapies that could help those suffering from PTSD and other mental health disorders.

It also marks a shift in how many perceive cannabis and psychedelics, as it opens up discussion and research into these substances, which have previously been viewed in a negative light. This could lead to increased access and knowledge of these treatments, which could help more people benefit from their potential therapeutic benefits.

The amendments also incorporate safeguards to ensure any research conducted is done with safety and oversight, such as requiring approval from both VA leadership and the Secretary of Veterans Affairs before any studies can be conducted. This will ensure that any research conducted is done with the best interests of veterans in mind.

Veterans Finally Getting Help They Deserve

For too long, veterans have been unable to discuss medical cannabis or psychedelics with their doctors due to the fear of losing VA benefits, as both substances are considered federally illegal. The passage of these amendments is a massive success for veterans hoping to access treatments for their mental health and well-being that were previously out of reach.

Veterans

This is essential in recognizing and honoring the sacrifices veterans have made for our country and ensuring they are treated with the utmost respect. It’s a reminder of how important it is to support those who have served this nation and provide them with access to treatments that could potentially save their lives.

Ultimately, these amendments are just the first steps towards unlocking the potential of medical marijuana and psychedelics for our veterans. There is still much more work to be done in order to ensure these treatments are made available and accessible to those who need them most. But this is a major step forward that will hopefully pave the way for future progress. With continued efforts, we can make sure our Veterans get the care they deserve.

Challenges Faced in the House of Representatives

The measure passed despite facing opposition. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), a former chair of the Democratic National Committee, joined Rep. John Carter (R-TX) in voicing opposition to it on practical grounds, arguing that it could put VA doctors in legal jeopardy if they fill out forms to recommend medical cannabis to veterans.

As a result of this opposition, the amendment was changed ahead of the Rules Committee meeting to clarify that VA doctors cannot be penalized for recommending medical cannabis.

While it’s a victory that the amendment eventually passed, it underscores the difficulty of passing legislation related to marijuana and psychedelics at a federal level.

Despite gaining more acceptance and support from both sides of the aisle, many are still opposed to researching and using these substances. It’s essential to recognize that progress is still a long way to go, but this is an important step forward.

The passage of these amendments is a testament to how far the conversation has come when it comes to medical marijuana and psychedelics.

Just a few decades ago, these substances were outlawed entirely in most states, but now they are being seen as potential treatments for a variety of ailments.

It’s clear that the time is now for research into the potential benefits of marijuana and psychedelics. With this amendment, our veterans will now have a chance to access treatments that could potentially be life-changing and life-saving.

We owe it to them to ensure they get the best care possible; with these measures, we can help ensure they do.


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