By Cathy J Leer, PT, MBA
More than 20 veterans per day die by their own hand1. For many veterans this means they know more comrades that have died by their own hand than in combat. That is a travesty. It is unconscionable when there are remedies that may provide holistic and safe options for what looks like an epidemic. That’s why Steve Danyluk (retired Lt. Col., U.S. Marine Corps) founded a company called Warfighter Hemp. He is championing the cause to get Congress to pass the “VA Medicinal Hemp [Cannabis] Research Act, which will compel the VA to comply with the wishes of the veterans they are charged to serve.”2
It is well documented that the VA is heavily reliant on prescription medications to treat medical issues in the veteran population. In fact, the VA is one of the “world’s largest providers” of two of the most addictive substances available: opiates and benzodiazepines (benzos). It is also a fact, as evidenced by the rising numbers of suicides, that the current protocols for treatment using these substances has been ineffective.
So why not look at alternatives? CBD (Cannabidiol), which has been shown to help PTSD, anxiety, depression, inflammation, pain, and addiction to name a few, is found in both marijuana and hemp, but is not psychotropic or addictive. This is different from the THC that is in marijuana, which is both addictive and psychotropic.
In 2018, the congressional farm bill made industrial hemp legal on a federal level. CBD comes from the industrial hemp plant, and is widely available without a prescription today, and is being used by millions of people worldwide.
Considering the fact that congress already legalized growth of industrial hemp, wouldn’t it make sense for congress to pass a bill that would fund further research to help the millions of service men and women who have served so valiantly to protect our freedoms and democracy? Of course it would! But then again, when has congress done anything for its constituents, especially for the veterans of this fine nation?
The VA Medicinal Cannabis Research Act of 2019 “requires the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to conduct a clinical trial of the effects of medical-grade cannabis on the health outcomes of covered veterans diagnosed with chronic pain, and also those diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.”3 If they are talking about clinical trials, that’s a step in the right direction to assure that these products are used in the safest and most effective manner possible. The key is to remove any doubt and get some facts that properly managed clinical trials can offer.
If you believe that veterans deserve the right to treatment that offers an alternative to highly addictive prescription medications, to have a chance at recovery rather than believing that suicide is the only way of alleviating the pains of war, I urge you to support the VA Medicinal Cannabis Research Act of 2019 by contacting your representative today. I did! Here’s how – look at this link: https://warfighterhemp.com/va-2019-medicinal-hemp-research-act/
Here are additional links you might find interesting:
 – New VA study finds 20 veterans commit suicide each day. https://www.militarytimes.com/veterans/2016/07/07/new-va-study-finds-20-veterans-commit-suicide-each-day/