It is common knowledge that many veterans have spoken out in favor of cannabis, and utilize the plant to treat a variety of medical conditions that they suffer from. Now, a recently released study further sheds light on the situation.
The Department of Veterans Affairs, Harvard Medical School and the University of Pennsylvania interviewed 93 veterans for this particular study. All of these veterans were confirmed to have received free cannabis for the Santa Cruz Veterans Alliance (SCVA) in Santa Cruz, California. The study, called “A cross-sectional examination of choice and behavior of veterans with access to free medicinal cannabis” was originally published on May 28. The overall results of the study verify that many more veterans are turning to cannabis versus being given prescription drugs that often cause dangerous side effects.
“This study confirms what we’ve been seeing on the ground for years now—coming up on a decade—which is that veterans are not only finding benefits from using cannabis medicinally, but are also using it to replace pharmaceutical drugs that they are being given by the V.A. that they find harmful or more dangerous,” said the SCVA’s Vice President of Communications and Public Affairs, Seth Smith.
According to The Mercury News, an estimated 79 percent of veterans mentioned that they were consuming cannabis for physical and mental medical conditions. Of the most common conditions, chronic pain, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and insomnia were among the highest. Additionally, about two-thirds of the surveyed individuals confirmed that they decided to use cannabis in lieu of a different drug.
“Given that cannabis use is associated with a much lower dependency potential and risk of overdose compared to other substances with a risk of misuse, this finding could suggest a positive impact of reduced barriers to medicinal cannabis access among veterans,” reads the study. According to the study, the average veteran consumes cannabis at least four times per day, with 16 percent confirming that they use concentrates in the form of dabs.
This study will likely serve as the foundation for veterans’ access to cannabis in the future. Hopefully this data is just the beginning of proving how much veterans rely on the plant, and why it’s essential that the United States Department of Veterans Affairs approves of its validity as medicine.