Some US military Veterans are allowed to use cannabis medicinally. Some are not.

Clinical cannabis use is not decided by the military patients need for her medicine but rather where she lives. This practice is of course totally illogical. Considering the source of this decision, the war on drugs mentality, it is not surprising. Realizing that Veterans are not being treated for their injuries properly, is not surprising to me. I’m a Vietnam Veteran and I have seen this all before.

Treatment by geography can be looked on as a win for Veterans, some Vets. Before this protocol was adopted by the Veterans Health Administration, in July of 2010, there was no cannabis allowed medicinally for any service member. The change in policy, VHA Directive 2010-035, allows those Veterans that live in states where cannabis is legally available to use their medicine without fear of losing cherished and earned benefits. They can not possess or use cannabis on federal property and only for symptoms approved by the state of residence. If the Vet lives in an unenlightened backwater state he is not ever to be a cannabis patient that will be cared for by the VA, by us indirectly, and that should embarrass us all.

This leads to another illogical process. A Veteran in Oregon can not use cannabis for PTS(d), while a Vet in New Mexico can. It is not as you may guess that all Vets with PTS live in New Mexico or that Vets in Oregon have no such reaction to war. It’s where they live that matters. It matters because the MD’s of Oregon, those in the VA system, even those in New Mexico have no say in the diagnostic process. The folks that make these decisions have never been to war, hell they have never been to medical or nursing schools. The people that are responsible for granting or denying cannabis to Veterans do not talk across state borders, rely on science or pay any attention to professional health care organizations that universally call for clinical cannabis for all citizens.

Those making these decisions are practicing medicine without a license. They are law enforcement, lawyers and lobbyists. They are not MD’s or RN’s and have no grasp of modern medicine’s discovery of the endocannabinoid system universal to all mammals and essential to life. The Senators and Representatives of the federal level are equally at fault, are equally ignorant of the world wide science concerning cannabis. They apparently have no idea that the soldiers of Czechoslovakia and Israel, allies of the US in Iraq, grow and treat their men and women wounded by PTS or brain trauma with cannabis, with great success. Or they do not care.

Veterans I hear every day are to be supported by all of us. The President says so. The yellow ribbon on your SUV says so, the talking heads say so.

It’s a lie. Veterans are treated for their wounds by geography. That’s the truth.

Al Byrne, for Patients Out of Time

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