Reps. Mace, Miller-Meeks Introduce Bill Supporting Medical Cannabis Research for Veterans
April 30, 2021
Washington, D.C. – Today, Congresswoman Nancy Mace (SC-01) and Congresswoman Mariannette Miller-Meeks (IA-02) introduced the "Veterans CARE Act," a bill directing the Secretary of Veterans’ Affairs to conduct research on the use of medical cannabis to treat veterans suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
“Many of our veterans face an invisible, life-long struggle to come to terms with horrifying experiences they endured while protecting the rest of us. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder can impact every aspect of one's life, and sadly the current treatments can lead to even greater problems for veterans,”said Mace. “Medical cannabis offers another valuable tool for doctors working to help our vets overcome PTSD. To ignore this potential would be a disservice to veterans and their sacrifices for our nation.”
“As a doctor, former Director of the Iowa Department of Public Health, and 24-year U.S. Army veteran, the mental, emotional, and physical health of my fellow veterans is one of my top priorities in Congress. For too long, veterans with mental or physical ailments have either gone untreated or have been prescribed addictive prescription medication that have caused their health to further deteriorate,”said Miller-Meeks. “We need to give veterans and their doctors more access to effective treatments, not fewer. That’s why I am introducing the Veterans CARE Act, to allow the VA to research the effectiveness of using medical cannabis for chronic mental and physical pain.”
To read the full text of the legislation, clickHERE.
While data is limited, The American Legion, a congressionally-chartered Veteran Service Organization, conducted a survey in October 2017 on a portion of its approximately 2.2 million veteran members and found that 92% of all respondents support medical research regarding medicinal cannabis and 82% of all respondents support legalizing medicinal cannabis. The survey also found that “22 percent of veterans are currently using cannabis to treat a medical condition.” Therefore, it is clear that medical research into the safety and efficacy of cannabis usage for medical purposes is timely, necessary, and widely supported by the veteran community.
Further, as many veterans are currently using cannabis for medicinal purposes, it is important that clinicians are able to fully advise veterans on the potential impacts, harms, and benefits of cannabis use on those with various diagnoses including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and chronic pain.