VA Marijuana Studies

Not Just A Street Drug Anymore: Legislators Demand Progress On Medical Marijuana

A bipartisan group of lawmakers has written a letter to VA Secretary Robert Wilkie about medical marijuana and its potential to replace opioids for veterans’ management of PTSD and chronic pain.

The group wishes to see expanded research into the positive effects of cannabis-derived medicines on these patients. They have asked Wilkie to initiate “a rigorous clinical trial” as a starting point and a fact-finding measure.

Support for legalized marijuana, especially in a medical context, has skyrocketed among the general populace, and especially among military service members, even compared to what it was five years ago.

It was a major hot-button issue in the 2016 Presidential campaign, partially responsible for Trump’s 2-to-1 voting record over Clinton among this group of voters. At the time, Trump spoke somewhat in favor of legalization, while Clinton was firmly against it.

Now two years into the Trump administration, many of us would like to see movement on this issue, including the bipartisan group mentioned above. They write:

“We believe VA has the authority, ability and capacity to carry out such a study. Many of our nation’s veterans already use medicinal cannabis, and they deserve to have full knowledge of the potential benefits and side effects of this alternative therapy.”

Given its great effectiveness for some patients, as well as its near-total lack of adverse effects compared to other pain management options, perhaps it is only our cultural stigma that bars this “alternative therapy” from promotion to the mainstream.

The perpetually harried David Shulkin, VA Secretary just prior to Wilkie’s appointment, also served as a sounding board for medical marijuana legalization in the past. He waffled on the issue, blaming red tape for the administration’s lack of policy change.

The latest resurrection of this question gives Wilkie a banner opportunity to speak publicly about his views (whether for, against, or mixed), which he has never done on the record.

Nick Etten, founder of the Veterans Cannabis Project, is entirely uncertain about where Wilkie stands, and you can bet he has done his share of digging.

“Secretary Wilkie has the opportunity to put medicine before politics and address one of the greatest needs of veterans right now, and that is alternative therapies for the signature wounds of war,” Etten said. “I hope he does the right thing and addresses this directly and aggressively.”

In light of all this new consideration, one observation plays on repeat in my mind. Cannabis can be taken in many forms, notably oils, that are chemically different from pot edibles or smokes for recreational use. The high is not the goal. The goal is treatment.

Opposing all medicinal cannabis options as a blanket statement, simply because of their recreational cousins, is a knee-jerk emotional stance to take on a critical health issue.

Not only is such denial dangerous, but it poses a pretty glaring double standard. Opioids have recreational cousins, too, and have for hundreds of years.

Laudanum. Heroin. Methadone.

The journey from the streets to the medicine cabinet has traveled the other way as well. Oxycodone, well-known as the OxyContin brand. Vicodin. Percocet. Just plain old morphine.

If we used the same logic on this family of painkillers that politicians love to use on cannabinoids, there would be a public outcry to ban all opiates immediately.

(Here we see another aspect of the double standard. An “opiate” and an “opioid” are the same. Both words describe the same Schedule I substances. The word “opiate” started to sound too scary, so lately the media has landed on a new word.)

Does taking Demerol make you a heroin addict? Does supporting opiate/opioid use for pain management mean you want local teens to shoot up? Are those situations equivalent?

If we have some modicum of discretion, if we can just wait and apply common sense to the questions we face, we might have to acknowledge that circumstances matter. The medical context, and the variety of chemical content, both matter.

So why is “Reefer Madness” STILL the logic we apply to medical marijuana?


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  1. As a victim of the ills of the VA system, I am here to challenge anyone choosing to spend time at the VA for so-called treatment to get “outside counseling” so you do not become a victim such as I!!!!!

    I had to get wise after I was poisoned by the VA causing TOTAL loss of sight in both eyes shortly after having two successful cataract surgeries! I was given a “drug of last resort” for a simple first time Afib event! This is true and documented with my wife/advocate proving this to the Washington elites in charge of our pensions – yet four years later all I get are the standard and coined responses stating that a “decision has not been made”. Talk about anxiety, depression, withdrawal, and on and on and yes, SUICIDE attempts!!!

  2. They will NEVER treat you. Why? Because they don’t have to and there’s nothing anyone can do about it. Shut it down already. WTF!!!

  3. let them want in one hand and piss in the other and see which fills faster. Unless you get a whole 2/3rds of Congress voting for this to make sure that it would be extremely difficult if not impossible to over turn the authorization, then nothing is going to happen no matter who is crying about it.

  4. Big Pharma won’t let the VA do it till they have a way to make billions off it. Like the Hep C drug the VA Dr. developed and is going for a $1000 a pill….

    1. Exactly! There is already a lot of research into the benefits of CBD oil too, but I’m sure the VA would want to get a nice big grant to do their own research, which will help them figure out how to get the most bang ($$$) for their buck when they decide to fund a pharmaceutical company of their choosing to make their own in pill form…

  5. Lynn Young,
    I’d like to meet one! They sure ain’t interested in hearing from veterans on this issue or any issue regarding the VA’s incompetence!

  6. How many Veterans believe Representatives and Senators got Veteran Medical Centers got under control ?

    1. Lynn Young,
      I’d like to meet one! They sure ain’t interested in hearing from veterans on this issue! And, THAT’S A FACT!

  7. They are leaving out one thing… If this is just going to be a study, and the federal government is not going to legalize it, then having a positive result on a urinalysis will disqualify you from many different types of employment. Veterans unemployment continues to be an issue, especially for ones that are rated between 50-80%, and still need to work. Right now, exempting certain types of hazardous employment like commercial driving, flying, linemen, etc., if you have an rx for an opiate pain management drug, a positive result won’t be reported to a prospective employer. I already know this, because this is what I’m dealing with at 80% service connected rating… Also, you know the VA won’t take this on unless there are obvious advantages like $$$ in it for them…

  8. Timing is everything. I was just looking at buying 3000mg 1 oz bottle of CBD to fight inflammation caused by multiple arthropathies in addition to Ankylosing Spondylitis. The VA was kind enough to set me up with Humira, but it seems to kick the snot out of my immune system to the extent that I’m off of it more than on it. It’s also likely that the immuno-suppressants lose efficacy after start/stop cycling. So, I have to find a back up. Presently vaping a 50/50 blend of THC and CBD… I sense that the THC gives me the quick pain relief/masking, but the amount of CBD I’m getting isn’t hammering the inflammation as much as I need, without me being otherwise hammered into oblivion.

    Let’s see – letters from Congress go to the VA to encourage Cannabadabbadoo for “Amerika’s Bravest”. This only a couple months after we learn that a former Speaker of the House is invested in …. yup … cannabadabbadoo. I’m sure a bucket of money will be given to a friend of a friend via a very craftily crafted RFP that only the friend of a friend will qualify for. Loves me an open and transparent gubmint.

  9. Here’s another take on how the VA wants to treat PTSD.

    From: “”

    “VA Study Will Compare Effectiveness of Two Leading PTSD Treatments”

    From: “”
    Dated: 10 Sep 2018
    By: “Richard Sisk”

    “Is it better to treat post-traumatic stress by consciously processing traumatic events or by prolonged exposure to memory of the trauma? Both methods have proven effective over time; but now the Department of Veterans Affairs is studying how they compare to each other in hopes of fine-tuning the therapy delivery system.”

    “Treatment for PTSD works. PTSD does not have to be a chronic disorder,” said Dr. Paula Schnur, executive director of the VA’s National Center for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder in White River Junction, Vermont and a professor of psychiatry at the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth. “We’re at a state right now where we have a number of treatments that are effective, but what we don’t know very much about is how the treatments compare with each other.”

    “The most beautiful balcony views in the world!”
    “Take a look at some of the worlds most desirable vacation homes from Inspirato
    According to the National Institutes of Health, PTSD affects a total of about 7.7 million American adult — civilians, active-duty military and veterans — who have experienced or witnessed traumatic events.”

    “The Department of Veterans Affairs estimates that PTSD afflicts about 31 percent of Vietnam veterans, 10 percent of Gulf War (Desert Storm) veterans, 11 percent of veterans of the war in Afghanistan, and 20 percent of Iraqi war veterans.”

    “Schnur, who will mark her 29th year at the VA this month, said it was a privilege to be at the forefront of VA research on improving treatments.”

    “Being in the VA has been an incredible opportunity as a scientist to be doing the kind of research that can make a difference,” she said.”

    “Her research has focused on the long-term physical and mental health outcomes of exposure to traumatic events, and she is currently overseeing a comparative study of two of the main regimens offered by the VA — prolonged exposure therapy (PE) and cognitive processing therapy (CPT).”

    “In PE, the therapist will work with the veteran “to gradually approach trauma-related memories, feelings and situations,” according to the American Psychological Association’s description of the treatment. “Most people want to avoid anything that reminds them of the trauma they experienced, but doing so reinforces their fear. By facing what has been avoided, a person can decrease symptoms of PTSD by actively learning that the trauma-related memories and cues are not dangerous and do not need to be avoided.”

    “In CPT, the therapist works with the patient to evaluate and change the upsetting thoughts brought on by the traumatic event or events, according to the VA’s National Center for PTSD.”

    “The treatment can involve writing about the event to help the patient decide whether there are more helpful ways to think about the trauma, the center said.”

    “In its outline for CPT posted on the VA’s website, the center said that “towards the end of therapy, you and your provider will focus on some specific areas of your life that may have been affected by the trauma, including your sense of safety, trust, control, self-esteem and intimacy.”

    “Schnur said she was currently overseeing “comparative effectiveness research” on PE and CPT to consider if “one a bit better than another, does one have more side effects?”

    “The goal was to help the veteran decide what was best for him or her, personally.”

    “Which works best for each patient? We really do have to do this kind of comparison to move to answering these questions for veterans and their clinicians,” she said.”

    “Currently, “we really don’t know whether one might have an edge over the other,” Schnur said.”

    “The comparison study on PE and CPT has thus far enrolled more than 900 veterans, male and female from all eras, at 17 VA sites nationwide, she said.”

    “The plan is to finish collecting data by next spring in hopes of arriving at answers by mid-2019.*

    “In its budget request for Fiscal Year 2019, the VA called for an expansion of mental health services that would provide “more than 15.2 million outpatient visits, an increase of nearly 162,000 visits above 2018.”

    “The request was for $8.6 billion for veterans’ mental health services, which would be an increase of 5.8 percent above the 2018 current estimate, and would also include $190 million for suicide prevention outreach, the VA said.”

    “Much of the mental health funding will be directed at what is now called PTSD but has been known by other names for as long as there have been wars. Treatises have been written on how Achilles probably suffered from PTSD.”

    “It was called “soldier’s heart” in the Civil War; in World War I, it was “shell shock;” and in World War II, “battle fatigue” or “combat fatigue.”

    “Much has been written about the use of yoga, tai chi, acupuncture, the involvement of veterans with dogs or horses, and other alternatives as treatment for PTSD, but Schnur said they all should be considered as secondary or complimentary to PE and CPT.’

    “Our view of the evidence is that we don’t recommend them as primary treatment,” Schnur said.”

    “However, the VA in July also set up the Creating Options for Veterans Expedited Recovery Commission (COVER) to explore alternative PTSD treatments developed in the private sector.”

    “The COVER Commission will examine the evidence-based therapy treatment model used by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs for treating mental health conditions of veterans and the potential benefits of incorporating complementary and integrative health treatments available in non-Department facilities,” VA officials said when announcing the commission’s creation.”

    Here’s the comment section!

    Casey Elliott18 hours ago
    No thanks. If I ever have to go to the VA again, it will be too soon.

    Lorence Parker1 day ago
    Shell Shock, Battle Fatigue, Unable to adapt, or maybe you were just Nutty as a Fruit Cake before you went into the Service. Most of us came back from being in Combat and became productive American Citizens. Of course that saying you were even in actual Combat and not in a Combat Theater or on a ship in The Caribbian..

    Liam BabingtonLorence Parker22 hours ago
    In either case, working through issues is work! There is NO silver bullet……you have to work through what you dealt with!! I speak from experience. One can manage thier issues, but that takes time and paitience!!

    © 2018 Military Advantage

  10. I am among the few folks short of fully geared up laboratories that has developed a technique to refine medical marijuanna into Delta 9 THC isolate approaching absolute purity. Online my demonstrations regarding how to accomolish this embody a significant amount of research on my part and my own videos online regarding the refinement of this medication into medical grade purity are regarded now as the cutting edge references to achieve this difficult task.

    My methods begin with liquid to liquid extraction to remove volitile compounds known as terpenes, then proceed to cryogenic removal of chlorophylls and plant waxes, then proceed to a series of evaporative/deposition steps in a cryogenic sublimation apparatus. The apparatus is rigged to produce a vacuum so deep that mean free path molecular flow is achieved. Once achieved the atmoshpere inside the sublimator is so scant that molecules no long bump into one another and travel only in straight lines. The vacuum depth allows this VERY high boiling point compound, D9 THC to “boil” at temperatures as low as 125C.

    The collected compound then is isolated D9 THC testing for potency as an isolate to near absolute purity. This oil is then used by myself in a vaporizer and has been for years now to alleviate PTSD, severe neuropathy, severe artheritis, and now terminal liver cancer. The cancer is inoperable. I am back on opiate but not as a long term bargain. It is life long now but will be a short term solution. The D9 THC works wonders on long term chronic pain. It works as a valuable asset for acute short term pain as an augmentation to the opiate allowing me to skip almost entirely half the opiate I am prescribed and does not make me vomit.

    I am one man. One man has shown demonstrably the practicallity of refining this medicine into its core components at home with just rudimentary tools and a home hobby lab. The compound is nearly clear but pale yellow and sticky at room temp. This is perfectly legal to do in Oregon if certain limits are observed regarding quantities posessed and so forth.

    Just one crazy man booted continuously from VA care turned to nature and found a way. Since December the VA here has been ordered twice to resume care for me. The VA here in response to the last mandate by DC since December to provide care immediately issued one day after a Cat One PRF letter for violent and disruptive behavior because, “… It has been reported by a staff member that you contacted them on a non-VA approved social platform and left a message that could be interpretted as an implied threat…” I am now for the 8th time assigned as a Cat One PRF patient and it ALL started six years ago when VA was served by a court order to cease molesting my care by Circuit Court.

    Even today I was notified for the 17th time of multiple cancellations of service and the new PRF letter? It is so outrageous even the Chief of Staff or his designee refused to sign it. It is signed simply, “The Committee”. Look up 38 CFR 17.107 and you will see unless signed the order has no effect. You will also see in part one that only behavior AT a VA medical facility can earn such an order and nowhere does it say anything about VA extending its claws into my private internet usage. This in the face now of four case numbers assigned as retaliation by staff against me since December alone meant to halt the harassment.

    Let me ask you seriously. As a guy who knows exactly and precisely what it takes to produce water clear D9 THC isolate. Since VA is incapable of even rudimentary functions without massive human suffering, interventions, congressional oversight, and yes even a change of Presidents and THEN they still break down at EVERY level, just how the hell do you think this keystone cops group of thugs, renegades, and scum could ever possibly conduct ANY meaningful research??? They will pop a joint into somebodies mouth, kick them hard in the balls, record the reaction, then produce a report 2 billion dollars over budget and six years late to report their findings.

    Passing off D9 THC research into the hands of such incompetance, arrogance, and hatred towards veterans is the hubris of stupidity. The VA is staffed with corrupt clowns who have pissed on American vets for generations and will do os until they are ended. Handing them the keys to such beneficial research is like asking the class of a kindergarten to conduct studies on reducing the incidence of pissing in their pants.

    1. My instagram name is redturtle984. That address will point you to about thirty short vids and pictures documenting the techniques mentioned above. A more extensive site regarding method can be found on that page as well with full length videos.

      1. You are awesome, Dennis. Thought I could move to a recreational legal state but was not in the financial cards, but hey, at least my state does have medical cannabis, was supposed to be available in OH Sept. 8, now they are talking sometime next year…too many hands in cookie jars trying to control things…will stick to the street until full legalization.

      2. Dennis, you are up there with the likes of Dr. Day, Rife, and others who came up with brilliant methods/ideas the government, FDA, medical societies, medical colleges, big Pharma, doesn’t want to be known. True ‘Essiac,’ the old time cures or treatments like using high grade H2O2 to kill cancers, oxygenation uses, emphysema and diseases, even in chickens (New Castle disease was one I think). To now days if modern dope can’t cure things they will order entire farms or flocks to be destroyed instead. Warning of such alternatives as dangerous or illegal. Or going out for the once ‘old timers’ or farmers for practicing medicine or causing some problems against the laws of modern LEOs and medicine. The gubbermint went out and stole Tesla’s reports and experiments too didn’t they? I wonder why.

        You are passing along one hell-u-vah legacy for someone to benefit from.

        Last count over 70 younger and healthy homeopathic doctors have been found ‘suicided’ and treatments confiscated or mysteriously lost or stolen because of great reports of alternative cures and treatments. The scientist that was living in an old missile silo that had multiple uses and types of MDMA (with and without the buzz) was hassled by big brother, finally arrested for doing good and finding ‘cures and treatments’ for many things also had his lab destroyed and records confiscated. He had a steady stream of followers/patients many of whom was afflicted by “shell shock.” Among many others being treated for severe disorders of all kinds. I think the old documentary on this stated he’d founded over 90 different ways/compounds to use his methods and drugs/herbs to ease pains so people could function normally, greatly aid in emotional disorders, etc. All lost to gubbermint.

        Today some studies and head shrinks are claiming ‘ecstasy’ is great for emotional or psychological disorders. Duh. Doesn’t matter in Indiana whether it be the VA or not. They are all about control, fascism, creating human suffering and profits, period.



    2. Dennis Try some of these things It helped me back of my cancer, I tried all kinds of shit.
      But i think it was this one….B17

      Another thing is the right ph water, even bottled water can kill ya
      A cheap pool water tester at wally world will give you the results And i never leave home without it.

      Basic Science of MMS

    3. Fungus and Cancer
      Candida Infections Cause Some Cancers…
      Eliminating Fungal Infections Vital For Getting Rid Of Cancer

      Royal Rife himself explains how he found his cancer cure –

  11. For anyone who has had VA Dental Care and is hearing voices in your head.

    The Military Now Has Tooth Mics For Invisible, Hands-Free Radio Calls
    By Patrick Tucker, Defence One, September 10, 2018


  12. To believe even for a moment that the VA is capable of producing any study on Marijuana that is un-Biased is truly foolish. As a matter of fact, the VA is totally incapable of doing any investigational studies without Biases. That includes pharma studies, medical device studies and any health studies.

    To show just how biased the VA is when it comes to Cannabis. A quick review of one of the VA’s, self-published, resent study on Cannabis completed at Portland VAMC clearly shows just how biased they can get.

    In the Portland study they relied on previous published materials and did not rely on new studies using Veterans. Out of more than 10,875 English language studies they reviewed. They chose to limit the data they used to complete their study to data from 12 prior VA systematic reviews and 48 primary studies.

    Besides hand picking studies to include to obtain the VA’s desired results there are a number of other problems that really jump out at this reader.

    1.) The VA’s research study was self-published by the VA on their website because it could not pass the peer review process it needed to be accepted for publication by any Scientific Journal.

    2.) The VA’s research study did not include any reference section showing what studies they chose to use in completing their biased study.

    3.) The VA only used 12 prior VA systematic reviews and 48 primary studies to archive their desired “biased” results in their study. Which they claim showed that there was little if any pain relief or relief of symptoms of PTSD.
    a.) They even state the following regarding the few pain studies they limited their investigation to; “We found low-strength evidence that cannabis preparations with precisely defined THC:CBD content (most in a 1:1 to 2:1 ratio) have the potential to improve neuropathic pain but insufficient evidence in other patient populations. Most studies are small, many have methodologic flaws, and the long-term effects are unclear given the brief follow -up duration of most studies.
    b.) Out of the 10,875 studies they chose to use only 12 prior VA reviews and 48 studies to archive their desired biased results. Although a search of PubMed using the terms “Cannabis” and “PTSD” results in listing 155 articles published in Scientific Journals which support the use of Cannabis. The VA only used two studies to limit their results on PTSD. The results they published are: “We found insufficient evidence examining the effects of cannabis in patients with PTSD. We found 2 observational studies comparing outcomes in cannabis users to a control group that had not used cannabis; cannabis use was not associated with improved outcomes in either study.”

    4.) In regards to the studies they chose to declare Cannabis use as harmful. They include studies on users who are injecting marijuana directly into the blood stream. To quote the VA; “Emerging Harms, Chronic cannabis use has been associated with a severe form of cyclic vomiting called the cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome. There have also been reports of serious infectious diseases including aspergillosis and tuberculosis associated with smoked cannabis, and a severe acute illness associated with intravenous cannabis use.


    Scientific Community Pushes Back Against V.A.’s Latest “Worthless” Medical Marijuana Studies
    by Mike Adams | NEWS | Aug 22, 2017


    When the VA lies to Congress about medical marijuana, it lies to our wounded warriors
    John Hudak, Brookings Institute, January 16, 2018


    Department of Veterans Affairs Health Services Research & Development Service
    Evidence-based Synthesis Program Benefits and Harms of Cannabis in Chronic Pain or Post -traumatic Stress Disorder: A Systematic Review
    August 2017

    1. Oh, and bye the way each person connected to the VA study should be immediately fired and prosecuted for fraud to the fullest extent of the law.

  13. It’s ALL a Truman Puppet Show ~ Everything is Fakery Mind Kontrol

  14. Off-Topic, but I’m hoping to help:

    This 9/11, I have established BOUNDARIES for my PTSD and severe anxiety by NOT WATCHING the mainstream news propaganda of repeating the showing of the twin towers being destroyed. All it does it aggravate me and remind me we are STILL AT WAR…but nobody really cares seemingly anymore…it’s become normal background hum of planes bringing body bags back.

    So I choose to aleve my grief instead with my cat’s vaporizer. No TV today. Hurricane? What hurricane?

    1. Exactly the same here. I’ve deleted all my media bookmarks accept local. I kind of lost it a few days ago to the point of barricading myself and sending my wife to our sons house. Canna butter DOES help.

  15. “Just plain old morphine”…..Yeah but it works, But NOOOOO we don’t want you to get addicted What a F**KING joke,If I could find some Heroin around here I would be on it…They don’t know what pain is sitting on their Ass …

    1. Same here OMarine. I doubt Mary Jane could touch my pains, spasms, migraines, etc. Hell the VA dude told us to hit the street corners for pain dope or go back to drinking if we didn’t like the ‘new VA way.’ “We are all criminals, will be,” and on domestic terrorist list anyway. The corporate prison systems need all the bodies they can get. And to silence those of us who are griping about the wrongs in this ignorant nation.

      While the local news keep pounding the war on pain killers will get tougher and more crack-downs to come. As those in the medical field are getting wealthy from all the new laws and visits to MDs. But only the connected, elite, cliques and some other vets have no problem with getting pain meds or muscle relaxers, or migraine meds. But the focus is on pain meds for the serfs and sheep.

      All state and town LEOs, prosecutors, politicians have already stated they will never allow ole Mary Jane to be legal or CBD oil strong enough to do any good for more severe issues. So that is a lost cause. That’s both parties regardless of what they say on TV. When they have emergency state conventions they all kick back, drink, pleasure each other and think of more ways to oppress people and strengthen the police state, 1984, and burn books. Following China, DC’s bottom buddies. And as the Fraternal Order of Police and other such goof balls have announced they support the Democrat Party people, that’s a given fact here locally too so nothing new there. They all say civil servants and such are not involved in politics or activism… big laugh.

      Now suicides from teens to vets are increasing to tragic levels but we don’t hear anything much in the news about it other than the suicides are near epidemic levels. I wonder why. The freaking idiots.

  16. If the VA can fuck-up any wet-dream or the sanitizing of medical equipment, am thinking I’d much rather vaporize medical cannabis that the VA has *NOT* touched nor ‘developed’ for relief of the various chronic medical conditions I endure daily.
    Too easy for the VA to simply add some fentanyl to the VA’s developed cannabis to quickly kill-off even more Veterans….no thanks.

    VA keep your hands out of any ‘development’ and ‘research’ and just allow us to use it, otherwise, the VA’s own cannabis strain will be called, “Brain Drain Strain” or the “SNAFU Strain”, but for God’s sake stay away from the “Hungry, Hungry Hippos Strain” unless you enjoy the fine selections of various forms of melba crackers in the VA vending machines when the munchies set-in.

    Now, where’s my vaporizer, cat? Give me dat!!!!!!

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