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Veterans Affairs Continues to Forbid Doctors to Recommend Medical Marijuana to PTSD Patients

March 23, 2010

Veterans Affairs Continues to Forbid Doctors to Recommend Medical Marijuana to PTSD Patients

Press release originally available at

March 4, 2010

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Despite widespread evidence showing medical marijuana to be a safe and effective treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs forbids all VA doctors from recommending medical marijuana to veterans, even in the 14 states where medical marijuana is legal.

The VA policy is based on advice from the Drug Enforcement Administration, which has long-supported keeping marijuana in the Schedule I classification reserved for substances with no accepted medical use, placing it alongside substances like heroin and LSD. A 2008 study by the RAND Corporation showed that 20 percent of soldiers returning home from Iraq and Afghanistan suffer from PTSD. A 2007 study in the Journal of Traumatic Stress found that marijuana can be an effective treatment for severe PTSD symptoms.

In New Mexico, PTSD is the most common affliction treated among those enrolled in the state’s medical marijuana program, according to the New Mexico Dept. of Health. One such patient is Army Veteran Paul Culkin, who served in Iraq as a staff sergeant with the Army’s bomb squad and now heads the New Mexico Medical Marijuana Patient’s Group.

“As a country, we are committed to providing the best equipment and weapons to our servicemen and women on the battlefield. Similarly, our soldiers should be offered the best and most effective medical treatments when we return home, but this is simply not the case,” Culkin stated. “Marijuana is a proven and legitimate medicine and the VA needs to start listening to the scientific facts.”

According to University of Albany clinical psychologist Dr. Mitch Earleywine, “It is an outrage that the men and women who risk their lives keeping us free are now forced to risk their own freedom to obtain a medicine they feel works best to treat their PTSD. Marijuana can be an effective medicine for some key symptoms of PTSD. There is no question that our country’s bravest should have safe access to it.”

If you are suffering from PTSD and want to use marijuana legally as your medicine, please call us to schedule a confidential appointment at 866-420-7215


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