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The study: 1 in 10 American veterans has used cannabis in the past year

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While the United States has seen tremendous progress in terms of reforming cannabis law and reshaping public opinion of the drug over the years, the continuing lack of federal legislation and regulation is evident, particularly in its implications for groups like veterans.

Canada, which has legal cannabis across the country, foot Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC) reimbursement policy for medical cannabis, allowing for reimbursement of up to three grams per day for eligible veterans. The VAC specifically set a flat rate of $8.50 per gram, ingested in dried cannabis or the equivalent of fresh cannabis or oil.

In the United States, VA providers are allowed to discuss cannabis use with veterans, but due to the drug’s Schedule I federal status, VA doctors I can not Recommendation or coverage of medical cannabis. Of course, with increasing research on the potential benefits of cannabis as it relates to conditions affecting veterans, such as post-traumatic stress disorder or pain relief, it’s clear that American veterans continue to turn to this botanical medicine for help, with or without the help of VA.

A fresh look at veteran cannabis use

A new survey conducted by researchers affiliated with the University of North Texas and the University of Illinois provides more information about the amount of cannabis use by American veterans. In an assessment of cannabis trends among a nationally representative group of more than 16,000 veterans from the years 2013 to 2019, the survey estimated that one in 10 veterans reported using cannabis within the past year.

The data has been published in the journal Substance use and misuse.

“The legal landscape surrounding marijuana use in the United States (US) is constantly changing,” the researchers write. “Although substantial research has investigated risk factors for use among different populations, much needs to be drawn from veterans, who are at increased risk for mental and physical health problems, which may cause or reduce marijuana use.”

The survey used data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, which consisted of a total of 16,350 veterans ages 18 and older. Researchers tested weighted linear and quadratic trends in past year use, and found a significant increase (56%) in total cannabis use from 2013 to 2019, with 1 in 10 veterans (9.79%) reporting cannabis use in the past year.

Wider implications for access for veterans and cannabis

The researchers also found that older veterans, or those age 35 or older, were more likely to report medical cannabis use in the past year than the 18-25-year-old veteran age group. A minority of study participants reported receiving authorization for cannabis use from a health care provider, likely due to federal law prohibiting VA providers from making recommendations, even in states where medical cannabis is already legal.

“This increase, in the context of federal victim assistance provider restrictions, has implications for issues of care coordination and safe supply for veterans,” the researchers concluded. “Given the rapidly changing and heterogeneous landscape of recreational and medical marijuana policy in the United States, the current study may aid harm reduction efforts and behavioral interventions.”

The authors focus on this point noting that, in the context of current federal policy, the findings suggest the need for “enhanced care coordination” among those who may benefit from cannabis use but are unable to access it through the VA.

The researchers also note that additional research is necessary in order to better understand veterans’ cannabis use in the context of federal VA restrictions, “including examining how veterans obtain marijuana, what it affects care coordination and health outcomes, and whether marijuana can It plays a role in reducing other drug use and drug-related harm among veterans.”

last A recent study The Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), a group representing more than 400,000 veterans, found that 83% of IAVA vets support legal access to medical cannabis and 55% support recreational legalization. In addition, 89% reported that they would be interested in using cannabis if it was available to them.

While the issue of access to medical cannabis is still ongoing, the VA is already stepping up to explore the drug: a number of VA doctors already doing studies It specifically looks at the potential for narcotic-assisted therapy for people who need it.

Grow guide for marijuana beginners.
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