Senators from Hawaii and Florida have introduced legislation meant to protect our military veterans who use marijuana to treat ongoing conditions.

Veterans return from combat with a number of conditions that benefit from the regular use of marijuana. These conditions include Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and chronic pain, among others. In recognition of this, Sens. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., and Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, introduced the Veterans Medical Marijuana Safe Harbor Act.

Current regulations regarding the treatment of veterans prevent recommending therapies that involve cannabis.
The legislation will allow doctors who practice in states where this therapy is legal to add it to the possible treatments for veterans who are most likely to benefit. Sen. Nelson noted that the legislation would be beneficial for veterans in Florida and 31 other states.

States where cannabis is a legal medical treatment have a 24% lower rate of opioid overdose.

This access to better treatment options may make an impact on the current tragic fact that more than 20 former military personnel take their own lives each day. This decision can be traced to chronic pain in some cases, meaning the access to cannabis therapy may help these individuals see a better alternative than suicide.

Another statistic shows that veterans are more likely to die by opioid overdose because they are not receiving the pain management help they need from medical personnel. Allowing the doctors who treat veterans to recommend the use of cannabis in states where this is a legal option increases the likelihood of successful treatments for more veterans.

Certain studies conducted in recent years have shown the need for legal backing to the use of cannabis for pain conditions. The National Academy of Sciences, for example, found that in 10,000 studies the number of adults who use cannabis for pain management show the laws related to medical cannabis use need to be revamped.

With 115 opioid overdose deaths reported nationwide every day (per the National Institute on Drug Abuse), options are being sought to resolve this epidemic. It’s been found that states where cannabis is a legal medical treatment have a 24% lower rate of opioid overdose, making a valid argument for the successful passage of this historic legislation.