The VA Medicinal Cannabis Research Act Is Advancing, But Some Researchers Don't Think That Will Be Enough

A new bill that would allow Veterans Affairs to conduct research on the use of medical marijuana for the treatment of PTSD has been making its way though the House. And while this is promising, some researchers are concerned that it won't be enough.

A new piece of legislation titled the Veterans Affairs Medicinal Cannabis Research Act was passed by a House committee this week and now heads to the house floor. If passed, the Act would allow the VA to conduct research on medical marijuana, something it argues is currently illegal. Researchers like Dr. Sue Sisley who already works with veterans and medical cannabis believe legislation like this should have been passed long ago. She currently heads what is the first FDA approved study on cannabis as a treatment for PTSD.

“We could have finished this study probably a year ago if we had the cooperation of the Phoenix VA,” Sisley told CBS 5.

While Dr. Sisley sees the importance of such legislation she isn't convinced that the Act as is goes far enough.

“Really what it should say is not that the VA [may] participate [in research], but that the VA must participate,” she said. “At this point, we've got millions of veterans around the U.S. who are actively using cannabis to manage a variety of ailments and we don't have enough data to guide them on how to do that safely.”

Veterans such as Lorenzo Sullivan agrees that the VA needs to transition away from the pharmaceuticals they currently prescribe vets suffering from PTSD and chronic pain. He says the legislation could be much more effective if only it were more focused.

"There is only one thing they need to do," says Sullivan. "Change the scheduling and that will fix everything else."


After a battery of tests and misdiagnoses, I was finally diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease twelve years ago, and thus began a long battle with trial-and-error medical treatments. I changed my diet several times, even though my doctors didn’t seem confident it would change much (it didn’t), went to physical therapy for pain-related issues, and took so many different pharmaceuticals I can’t even begin to recall each and every one. My days were foggy due to side effects from pharmaceuticals, such as steroids, that made me feel worse than I did before I even took them.

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