US psychologist Marcel Bonn-Miller is self-funding research on the therapeutic use of marijuana to treat veterans.
Currently, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is not keen to research medical marijuana since the US bans cannabis on a federal level.
Bonn-Miller has worked for years at the VA hospital in Palo Alto, California, and now teaches at the University of Pennsylvania medical school.
“The VA has funded lots of marijuana studies, but not of therapeutic potential. All the work has been related to problems of use,” he told the New York Times.
In 2016, he expressed interest in studying the health benefits veterans feel after using marijuana, but he did not seek any VA funding due to the department’s lack of interest in the green herb’s therapeutic use.
However, the Congress is now mulling some drastic change on that after a bipartisan bill was introduced in the House of Representatives earlier this year.
If passed, the bill would order the VA to study the safety and efficacy of marijuana for treating chronic pain and PTSD.
“CBD may be of huge benefit, THC may be of huge benefit, but there are also risks of abuse and bad outcomes,” he said.
“We’d like to know more, so we can figure out what works and what doesn’t.”
One Million Veterans Use Marijuana
A department survey showed that approximately one million veterans are already using medical marijuana.
But VA doctors say without significant research they are unable to provide good advice on if veterans should use marijuana.
Representative Tim Walz, who along with Phil Roe, believes research should be done.
“I talk to so many vets who claim they get benefits, but we need research. You may be a big advocate of medical marijuana, you may feel it has no value. Either way, you should want the evidence to prove it, and there is no better system to do that research than the V.A.”
Against Federal Law
The VA department had previously said no to medical marijuana.
The VA spokesman Curt Cashour said marijuana is still a Schedule 1 drug under federal law, so researchers will need approval from five different agencies in order to begin examining cannabis.