Cannabis Could Save Millions of Lives… So Why Is Washington Dragging Its Feet?
There’s growing evidence that cannabis – yes, the plant the government is so desperate to keep out of your hands that people have been jailed and even killed over it – could be used to treat all of these conditions… and many more.
A review of decades’ worth of studies published in Therapeutics and Clinical Risk Management found that cannabis, or specifically cannabidiol (CBD), is effective as an antidepressant and antipsychotic, as well as a treatment for insomnia.1
A recent study cited in Cancer Medicine noted that “cannabinoids show antitumor activity” in both human cell lines and in animals.2
And in the U.K., Sativex, a cannabis-based drug, has proved quite effective at fighting the sometimes excruciating pain caused by rheumatoid arthritis.3
The research, of course, has largely been conducted overseas. It’s illegal for most folks – even scientists – to even touch the stuff here.
As the evidence adds up, it’s seeming like the therapeutic benefits of cannabis are unlimited…
Maybe they are.
Unfortunately, all of the compelling figures and studies haven’t been enough to convince Washington to do what’s right.
And once again, it’s our veterans who are suffering.
This should make you very angry…
Sorry, Can’t Do That
Last week, officials at the Department of Veterans Affairs told House representatives that they won’t support any legislation that would expand research on medical marijuana and cannabis.
As long as marijuana is illegal under federal law, says the VA, they can’t condone such a program.
According to Larry Mole, the agency’s chief consultant for population health, “[The House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs] can make strong proposals for us to move forward with recommendations of filling out forms and such, but, in the end, we need to go back to the [Drug Enforcement Agency] and [Justice Department] for their opinion.”
And just like that, the buck has been passed.
Leaving Our Vets Out in the Cold
We’ve heard it all before. It’s just more superficial hand-wringing from Capitol Hill.
The folks in D.C. would much rather point fingers at each other than do something productive… like cut through all the red tape they’ve piled up.
Meanwhile, soldiers battling PTSD – which studies show cannabis can dramatically reduce4 – are being left out in the cold.
“There’s a consensus among clinicians that existing pharmaceuticals such as antidepressants simply do not work [when treating PTSD],” says the author of one landmark study on cannabinoids and PTSD.
“In fact, we know well that people with PTSD who use marijuana – a potent cannabinoid – often experience more relief from their symptoms than they do from antidepressants and other psychiatric medications.”
At the same time veteran opioid overdoses are nearly twice the national average, cannabis, a clear and natural alternative, sits just out of reach.
Carlos Fuentes, the director of national legislative service for the Veterans of Foreign Wars, blames the VA. He says its “overreliance on opioids to treat chronic pain and other conditions has led to addiction and even deaths.”
Now he’s calling on the agency to make things right and “expand research on the efficacy of nontraditional alternatives to opioids.”
I’m going to do everything I can to amplify his message.
The Long Journey Ahead
It’s sad that our veterans aren’t getting the care that they deserve, especially now that the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill has made it easier than ever to benefit from the raw power of cannabinoids.
I personally know dozens of individuals – both inside and outside of the medical arena – who use CBD for at least one therapeutic purpose.
Yes, laws are changing fast. But as the VA’s comments show, we still have a long journey ahead of us.
I’m convinced that a big part of the problem is education. So I’d like to take this opportunity to invite Manward readers to ask me anything about CBD and the medical uses of cannabis.
Send me your questions here and I’ll respond in a follow-up piece next week.
I’m looking forward to it.
Dr. Sanjay Jain, M.D., MBA