Veterans returning home from war often suffer from ailments that they believe can not be treated by pain medications and therapy alone. Veterans suffering from certain medical conditions have even been prescribed medical marijuana by state-approved physicians in the past, but were often denied VA health benefits if they used the medical marijuana. However, after hard work from organizations like the Veterans for Medical Marijuana Access, the government has since changed its laws to better benefit those needing medical marijuana and VA health benefits.
What is Medicinal Marijuana used for?
There are fourteen states that have elected to allow the use of medical marijuana, however, their choice to allow the legal use of medical marijuana is in direct conflict with federal law. These states have chosen to disregard the federal laws pertaining to marijuana because they do not feel it is appropriate to deny those suffering from certain medical ailments. These states often allow physicians to prescribe medical marijuana to those suffering from:
- Chemotherapy induced nausea
- Chronic Pain
- Multiple Sclerosis
If I receive Medical Marijuana will I be denied VA benefits?
Prior to new ruling, recipients of medical marijuana were often denied or given limited quantities of medications prescribed by the VA. VA doctors were not allowed to give veterans with medical marijuana prescriptions further VA-approved treatments which caused many veterans to stray from the VA health care system. Under the new ruling, VA doctors will still not be able to prescribe medical marijuana to veterans, but they will be able to offer other VA-approved treatment options to those veterans. However, some VA-treatment options may still be limited due to the VA’s concern with mixing medical marijuana and certain narcotic painkillers.
Although the VA is not allowed to prescribe medical marijuana to patients due to its conflict with federal law, the system has eased its guidelines to better serve veterans. The goal of the VA is to serve veterans to the best of its abilities, and has been trying to work with federal law to improve its health practices. If you currently hold a prescription for medical marijuana, and are concerned about your eligibility for VA health benefits, simply ask your VA physician. They will let you know what you are eligible for, and what can be done to help you gain the best quality of life possible.
Photo thanks to goodnight_london under creative common license on Flickr.