Veterans get a dose of pain relief

Veterans get a dose of pain relief

As my long-time readers know, I’ve long been a supporter the use of medical marijuana. It’s been shown to benefit patients with cancer, multiple sclerosis, glaucoma, depression, and arthritis. It’s a powerful anti-inflammatory, it helps ease pain, increase appetite, promote sleep, and more.

Imagine all of those benefits, found in a single plant. I call that natural medicine at its best. Big Pharma calls it competition. Politicians call it bad for their image.

According to federal law, smoking pot is illegal——whether you’re using it for medicinal use or recreational. Yet 14 states allow for the use of medical marijuana. I’m sure you can see how this contradiction would pose a problem.

The tug-of-war over medical marijuana isn’t going to end anytime soon, but the Good Side won an important battle recently——and every little bit counts. If you’re a veteran, this one’s for you.

Veterans get the green light to use medical marijuana

In the 14 states that allow the use of medical marijuana, you no longer have to fear the consequences of——get this——actually using medical marijuana.

Why would you worry about doing something that’s completely legal? Because until recently, veterans could be denied pain meds if they were caught using illegal drugs——and the problem is, no one is quite sure what category medical marijuana falls into.

For plenty of veterans, that’s a trade they’re willing to make. John Targowski, a legal advisor to a group called Veterans for Medical Marijuana Access, said, “For years, there have been veterans coming back from the Iraq war who needed medical marijuana and had to decide whether they were willing to cut down on their VA medications.”

But why should it be an either/or? Denying someone proper medical care should never be an option——no matter what laws he’s broken. If anything should be illegal in all of this mess, it should be withholding medical treatments for people who need it——especially the men and women who put their lives on the line for this country.

Fortunately, though, in the 14 states that allow the use of medical marijuana, this contradiction will no longer be in effect.

“If a veteran obtains and uses medical marijuana in a manner consistent with state law, testing positive for marijuana would not preclude the veteran from receiving opioids for pain managements,” said Dr. Robert A. Petzel, the VA’s undersecretary for health.

It never ceases to amaze me that the “powers that be” are so dead set against pain relief. Maybe it’s because they themselves are the biggest pains in our you-know-whats, or maybe it’s because they’re afraid of what it will do to their image to promote these powerful substances. Your guess is as good as mine.

All I know is that when it comes to medical marijuana, most of our bureaucrats are so tight-lipped that this powerful pain-reliever can’t get a break.

The benefits of the cannabis plant have been proven time and again——which is why numerous states allow for its medicinal use in the first place. Of course, it’s still against the law on the federal level.

Which means that even if you’re in a state in which it’s legalized, and even if you have a prescription from your doctor, and even if you get this powerful pain reliever from a licensed distributor… you could still go to jail for taking advantage of its benefits.

No wonder so many vets have been worried about “getting caught.” For many of them, going to jail would be small potatoes compared to getting denied VA benefits.

The medical marijuana issue is just one of many that I continue to shake my head at, no matter how much time goes by. But, despite what it might look like, I’m not going to argue the benefits of medical marijuana today, and I’m not going to go on tirade about the stupidity of the legal system. (OK, stupidity might be a little harsh. You can substitute words like unjust, inept, or overcompensating if it makes you feel better.)

And in case you’re wondering, here’s a list of the 14 states that allow the use of medical marijuana: Alaska, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington.

Of course, each state has different rules and regulations regarding its use, so before you decide to start “self-medicating,” you should read up on your state’s individual laws.