A House of Representatives committee on Thursday approved a bill requiring the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to conduct clinical trials on the therapeutic potential of marijuana for military veterans.
The House Veterans Affairs Committee passed the legislation, sponsored by Representative Lu Correa (D-Calif.), in a largely partisan vote of 18 to 11, with all Democrats supporting and all but one Republicans opposed.
The Virginia Medical Cannabis Research Act mandates that the department begin a series of studies on the use of medical marijuana to treat PTSD and chronic pain. Previous versions of the scale Painting Survey in 2020 and 2018 But it is not enacted in law.
“Veterans are no strangers to facing challenges, which is why Congress needs to explore alternative treatment options,” Correa told Marijuana Moment. “The VA Medical Cannabis Research Act of 2021 meets veterans where they really are and opens a new door for federal policy that supports treatment options preferred by veterans.”
“How can we not try to bring together the tremendous resources of Congress and the federal government to explore alternative treatment options like cannabis when the veterans themselves tell us that’s what they need,” the congressman said. “Failure to support this legislation would again be a reprieve from our obligation to care for those who have sacrificed so much to help protect our nation.”
A subcommittee held a hearing on the proposal last month and the Biden administration He expressed his opposition to reform.
Separately on Friday, the House of Representatives is set to fully take over an infrastructure bill that includes provisions intended to allow researchers to Examine the actual marijuana consumers purchase from state legal dispensaries Instead of having to use only government-grown cannabis.
Thursday’s committee mark On the bill that focuses on veterans, members unacceptable Amendment introduced by Rep. Marianette Miller Mix (R-Iowa). Her text that was In accordance with independent legislation introduced by the congressman In April, it essentially represents a more demanding and less obligatory proposal to encourage VA medical cannabis studies than the Correa measure.
Miller Mix’s legislation states that the department must “conduct and support research into the efficacy and safety of forms of cannabis” for chronic pain, PTSD, and “other conditions that the Secretary determines are appropriate,” without the specific need for full clinical trials as in Correa’s bill. It will also require analysis of fewer unique strains of cannabis, among other differences.
“Congressman Correa and I agree” on the basics of the case, Miller-Mix said. “However, his bill takes an overly prescriptive approach to requiring the Department of Veterans Affairs to conduct research on medical marijuana.”
She continued, “I am sure he was well-intentioned.” “However, what this can do is unfairly tie the hands of the victim assistance researchers responsible for designing and conduct these studies and undermine their work to the point that it makes no sense.”
President Mark Takano (D-CA) replied that he could not support the amendment because it would give the VA”far more Space to define…The possible use from cannabis And Therapy Pain And Post Traumatic Stress Disorder And ancient warrior.”
“with all Because respect, Virginia could He is a job who – which level from Research currently And Simply she has Selection Not He said. “The Department of Veterans Affairs’ Office of Research and Development can handle a clinical trial. It is already running several of them. It is time to give the scientific weight of this gold standard approach to the issue of cannabis use.”
Despite opposition from VA officials, the committee went ahead with passing the original Korea Bill.
A representative of the department said at a subcommittee hearing last month that any clinical trials involving potentially risky people should use “the smallest number of participants required to avoid unnecessarily endangering people.”
Regarding marijuana, some of the effects are “unknown,” said VA’s David Carroll, “and therefore a restrictive approach to determining dosage, method of administration and best outcome measure must be demonstrated in a proof-of-concept approach to ensure validation of the research.”
Additionally, Carroll argued that some requirements set forth in the bill such as studying seven different types of cannabis “are inconsistent with the current state of scientific evidence, which suggests that smaller, early-stage, controlled clinical trials with a focused set of specific goals are optimal.” …to identify proof of concept for the use of cannabis to treat specific conditions.”
The department’s response to the bill is consistent with its previous testimony — but still disappointing advocates who had hoped that the Biden-era VA would eventually embrace the modest reform.
Hopes rose even after the bill’s sponsor, Korea, I recently reported to a separate committee in the House of Representatives He had a conversation with Secretary of Veterans Affairs Dennis McDonough about the issue of marijuana and veterans.
Meanwhile, groups representing military veterans have supported legislation.
“We should simply provide the VA and its health care providers with scientific guidance on the potential effects, benefits, and/or dangers of cannabis used to treat chronic pain and PTSD,” Takano said before the conference. vote. “The Department of Veterans Affairs tells us that it is monitoring smaller research projects on cannabis outside of Virginia. This is really not enough.”
Veterans can purchase medical cannabis in 36 states and recreational cannabis in 19 states.Tweet embedThe bill would provide the VA and its health care providers with scientific guidance on the potential effects, benefits, and risks of using cannabis to treat chronic pain and PTSD.
– Veterans Affairs (VetAffairsDems) November 4, 2021
“The bill directs the VA to bring important methodological rigor and a clinical trial framework to bear on these important questions,” the chairman said. “We owe it to our veterans no less.”
Representative Nancy Mays (R-South Sudan) was the only GOP legislator who supported the bill’s progress through the committee.
Takano She said Cannabis legislation and other bills approved during coding will become part of our annual legislation package for Veterans Day” and who – which He is looking forward to their “passing on the floor of the house.”
With Veterans Day next Thursday, the chairman’s comments suggest that the marijuana bill may move through the entire House of Representatives on an urgent basis in the coming days.
Its legislative text states that the Secretary of VA “shall conduct a series of clinical trials on the effects of medicinal cannabis on health outcomes for veterans diagnosed with chronic pain and veterans covered with PTSD.”
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Lists “required items” for experiments and “optional items.” When it comes to experiences of chronic pain, the agency will have to consider the effect of marijuana consumption on bone pain, opioid use and dosage, benzodiazepine use and dosage, alcohol use, inflammation, sleep quality, agitation and quality of life.
For studies on PTSD, the VA will examine how cannabis affects baseline symptoms of the condition, use and dose of benzodiazepines, alcohol use, mood, anxiety, social functioning, agitation, suicidal ideation and sleep quality.
Optionally, clinical trials may include an “assessment of the effects of cannabis use in the treatment of chronic pain and PTSD on” lung function, cardiovascular events, various forms of cancer, enteritis, motor vehicle accidents, mania, psychosis, cannabis hyperactivity syndrome, neuropathy or spasticity;
The bill provides more details about the specific methodological criteria for required clinical trials. For example, it requires researchers to use “at least seven unique plant varieties” with specific proportions of THC and CBD, and says the trials will include “whole plant raw materials and extracts.”
In addition to his independent bill, Correa separately proposed ordering VA cannabis studies as an amendment to Defense spending bill passed by parliament in September. but he Withdrawn before the House Rules Committee session.
A Senate committee in June held a hearing on a bill similarly requiring the department to conduct clinical trials into the therapeutic potential of marijuana for veterans with PTSD and chronic pain — but a VA representative said so The Biden administration opposes reform. The Senate committee has yet to vote on its version of the legislation.
During the last Congress, in 2019, the Department of Veterans Affairs under President Donald Trump Came out against a series of bills Designed to protect the benefits for veterans who use marijuana, allow department physicians to recommend medical cannabis and expand research into the plant’s therapeutic potential.
In 2018, the House Veterans Affairs Committee was First House Committee Approves Marijuana Reform Bill By passing an earlier version of the legislation to encourage the VA to conduct research on the medical benefits of cannabis.
Despite the VA’s stated opposition to a variety of marijuana reform proposals in the past, a department official said recently that it is “closely” following research into Potential therapeutic benefits of drugs such as MDMA For military veterans.
Earlier this year, a bipartisan coalition of members of Congress re-introduced bills that would Federal legalization of medical cannabis for military veterans.
Representative Greg Steube (R-Fla) in January introduced a motion intended to ensure that Military veterans are not penalized for using medicinal cannabis According to state law. It would also legalize that VA physicians are allowed to discuss the risks and benefits of marijuana with their patients.
VA physicians are currently allowed to discuss cannabis with patients and document their use in medical records, and these veteran patients are already protected under the agency’s policy from losing their benefits for marijuana use — but the bill would enshrine those policies into federal law so they can’t be changed administratively in the future.
He was an American veteran who was deported to Jamaica for a marijuana conviction They were recently allowed to return to the country After coordinated lobbying for relief by members of Congress.
Senators Alex Padilla (D-CA), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Mark Warner (D-VA) Send a letter to the head of the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS). In July he is asked to reopen the case.
Thirty members of the black congressional bloc separately Biden administration urged to reopen some deportation cases, including hemp.