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New Rules Allow Veterans Affairs Doctors to Talk About Medical Marijuana, But Not Prescribe It

This year, many veterans' organization have heavily criticized the federal government for not allowing VA hospitals and doctors to prescribe medical marijuana to former soldiers, even in states where it's legal. In fact, VA doctors were not even allowed to discuss cannabis with veterans. But new rules will relax some of those restrictions.

The Department of Veterans Affairs announced new rules that will allow doctors to discuss the positives and negatives of medical marijuana with patients. However, they will still be barred from either prescribing medicinal cannabis or even recommending it to veterans. While the Department acknowledged that marijuana could have "clinical relevance to patient care," they noted that the federal government's position on the issue is that it is a drug "with a high potential for abuse, without a currently acceptable medical use in treatment in the United States, and lacking accepted safety for use under medical supervision."

On one hand, this is good news for veterans. VA doctors will now be able to provide information about cannabis and how it can help them deal with their various health problems. However, that information is more or less useless because those doctors cannot help them procure medical marijuana. Veterans would still need to visit a non-VA doctor in their state and get that medical professional to help them get medicinal cannabis. 

So while this is a small step forward, the VA still has a long way to go before their priorities will be straight.



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