Study Reveals Medical Cannabis Enhances the Well-being of Military Veterans and Lessens Dependency on Prescription Medications

Study Reveals Medical Cannabis Enhances the Well-being of Military Veterans and Lessens Dependency on Prescription Medications

A recent study conducted by researchers at the University of Massachusetts, University of Utah, and cannabis research institutes has found that over 90 percent of U.S. military veterans who use medical marijuana report an improvement in their quality of life. The study surveyed 510 veterans who consume marijuana to better understand their usage patterns and experiences.

The majority of respondents (67 percent) reported daily use of cannabis, indicating that it has become a regular part of their treatment regimen. Around one-third of veterans (30 percent) stated that they consume marijuana to reduce their use of other medications, including anti-depressants (25 percent) and non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (17 percent). Furthermore, 21 percent mentioned that cannabis has allowed them to decrease their reliance on opioid-based medications.

Overall, an impressive 91 percent of the veterans surveyed reported that cannabis improves their quality of life. The study also highlighted certain demographics within the veteran population that were more likely to seek a reduction in prescription medication use. These included Black veterans, female veterans, those who served in active combat, and individuals living with chronic pain. Women and individuals who used cannabis daily were also more likely to actively use marijuana as an alternative to prescription medications.

It is important to note that while the study provides valuable insights into the benefits of medical marijuana for veterans, there are limitations to its findings. The data collected was self-reported by participants, which may introduce bias. Additionally, certain media outlets and companies with a pro-cannabis stance were involved in promoting recruitment or funding the research initiative. Nevertheless, the study’s findings align with previous research suggesting that marijuana could be a potential alternative to prescription drugs.

The interest in studying cannabis as a treatment option for veterans stems from the fact that this population disproportionately suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and exhibits high rates of suicide. In a survey conducted by Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) in 2019, 20 percent of veterans reported using marijuana for medicinal purposes, while 66 percent consumed it recreationally.

Currently, veterans can consult with doctors at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) about their cannabis use. However, these doctors are prohibited from filling out the forms required to issue a medical cannabis recommendation in states where it is legal. To address this issue, a bipartisan congressional bill has been introduced, along with an amendment attached to VA spending legislation, aiming to enable VA doctors to recommend medical marijuana to veterans in legal states.

The recent markup of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) by the House Armed Services Committee also included provisions for creating a medical marijuana “pilot program” and conducting research into the therapeutic potential of psychedelics for active-duty military members under the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD). Additionally, the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee approved a bill directing VA to conduct studies on the therapeutic potential of marijuana for veterans with certain conditions.

In conclusion, the study’s findings provide further evidence that medical marijuana can significantly improve the quality of life for military veterans and help reduce their reliance on prescription medications. As more research is conducted in this area, it is hoped that veterans will have increased access to cannabis as a viable treatment option.

Dr. Paul Miller, MD

Dr. Miller is committed to finding new and innovative ways to help his patients manage their symptoms and improve their overall quality of life. He has a particular interest in the therapeutic potential of medical cannabis and is passionate about educating both his colleagues and patients on its safe and effective use. He is also committed to continuing his education and staying up-to-date on the latest advances in neurology and cannabis research.

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