The American Legion, representing millions of wartime vets, calls on Trump to loosen federal restrictions on medical marijuana research to help those suffering from PTSD, TBI, opioid abuse, and more.
After 16 years of war in Afghanistan and Iraq, many Americans view post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, and traumatic brain injury, or TBI, as the “signature” wounds of these conflicts. The Department of Veterans Affairs has spent billions of dollars to better understand the symptoms, effects, and treatments for these injuries. But despite advances in diagnostics and interventions in a complex constellation of physical, emotional, behavioral and cognitive defects, TBI and PTSD remain leading causes of death and disability within the veteran community.
There is something else the U.S. can do for suffering veterans: research medical marijuana.
Many Afghanistan and Iraq veterans have contacted the American Legion to relay their personal stories about the efficacy of cannabis in significantly improving their quality of life by enabling sleep, decreasing the prevalence of night terrors, mitigating hyper-alertness, reducing chronic pain, and more. This is why the 2.2 million members of the American Legion are calling on the Trump administration to instruct the Drug Enforcement Agency to change how it classifies cannabis, release the monopoly on cultivation for research purposes, and immediately allow highly-regulated privately-funded medical marijuana production operations in the United States to enable safe and efficient cannabis drug development research.
Currently, medical researchers face onerous Food and Drug Administration, Drug Enforcement Administration, and National Institute on Drug Abuse bureaucratic hurdles to conducting research. Additionally, due to cannabis’ classification, all researchers must source their cannabis from the University of Mississippi – who holds a monopoly on producing the drug for federally-sanctioned research.
The opioid epidemic that continues to grip veterans is yet another reason to ease the federal government’s outdated attitude toward America’s marijuana supply. The Trump administration should lead a new effort to combat opioid abuse, and it should include the elimination of barriers to medical research on cannabis. The result, potentially, could provide a non-addictive solution to the most common debilitating conditions our veterans— and others in society— face, including chronic pain, PTSD, and TBI.