Tester, Sullivan Urge VA to Explore Medicinal Cannabis as an Alternative Treatment for Veterans

Senators Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Begin Clinical Trials on Medicinal Cannabis to Treat Chronic Pain, PTSD

(U.S. Senate) – U.S. Senators Jon Tester (D-Mont.) and Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) introduced bipartisan legislation to urge the VA to explore the potential benefits of medicinal cannabis for veterans.

The Senators’ VA Medicinal Cannabis Research Act would direct the VA to begin clinical trials to test the effects of medicinal cannabis as a treatment for chronic pain and symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress.

“The VA needs to listen to the growing number of veterans who have already found success in medicinal cannabis in easing their pain and other symptoms,” said Tester, Ranking Member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee. “Our bill will make sure the VA takes proactive steps to explore medicinal cannabis as a safe and effective alternative to opioids for veterans suffering from injuries or illness received in the line of duty.”

“Since coming to the Senate, I’ve heard from Alaskan veterans who have been seeking alternatives to opioids in the hopes of better managing their pain,” said Sullivan. “Many of our nation’s veterans already use medicinal cannabis, and they deserve to have full knowledge of the potential benefits and side effects of this alternative therapy. I was pleased to work on this legislation with Sen. Tester that would direct the VA to take a serious look at how cannabis use can affect veterans with PTSD and chronic pain.”

The Senators’ bill authorizes a randomized controlled clinical trial to assess the effectiveness of medicinal cannabis to reduce symptoms of chronic pain and/or Post-Traumatic Stress, improve mood or social functioning, or impact other substance use. It would require the clinical trial to examine the effects of different forms and methods of delivery of cannabis.

Tester and Sullivan championed their bipartisan bill during last Congress. They also urged VA Secretary Robert Wilkie to begin similar clinical trials.

The Senators’ VA Medicinal Cannabis Research Act can be found online HERE.