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Medical Marijuana for Veterans

Medical Marijuana for Veterans
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Medical marijuana has recently emerged as a viable treatment option for veterans dealing with an array of health issues. From chronic pain and PTSD to anxiety and insomnia, the evidence supporting the therapeutic benefits of cannabis is compelling.

In this article, we’ll explore the efficacy of medical marijuana for veterans, unpacking relevant science and legislation to help you make informed decisions about your healthcare.

What Are the Benefits of Medical Marijuana for Veterans?

Some of the various benefits of medical marijuana for veterans include:

  • Alleviation from PTSD Symptoms: Medical marijuana has been shown to reduce the severity of PTSD symptoms in veterans, offering relief from flashbacks, anxiety, and insomnia.
  • Chronic Pain Management: Medical cannabis serves as an effective alternative to opioids for the management of chronic pain, involving less severe side effects and a lower risk of dependency.
  • Improvement in Sleep Quality: Veterans suffering from sleep disturbances can benefit from medical cannabis, as certain strains have sedative properties that promote deeper and more restful sleep.
  • Reduced Anxiety: Medical marijuana can help lower anxiety levels, which can be particularly beneficial for veterans suffering from stress-related conditions.
  • Neuroprotection: Some studies suggest that the anti-inflammatory properties of marijuana can protect against brain injury and the onset of neurodegenerative diseases, which can be a concern for veterans who’ve been exposed to combat.

What Percent of Veterans Use Marijuana?

More United States veterans than ever before are using medical cannabis. A 2023 study that surveyed 401 military service members found that 7.4% of current servicemen and 20.3% of veterans had used cannabis in the past year.

Can Veterans Get Medical Marijuana through the VA

Can Veterans Get Medical Marijuana through the VA?

Currently, veterans cannot obtain medical marijuana prescriptions through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Though medical marijuana has been legalized in many states, federal law classifies cannabis as a Schedule I controlled substance, which prohibits VA doctors from prescribing it.

Additionally, VA clinicians are not allowed to complete paperwork or forms that would enable a veteran to participate in a state-approved marijuana program.

Will the VA Pay for My Medical Marijuana Prescription?

Currently, the VA does not cover the cost of medical marijuana prescriptions for veterans. This policy stems from marijuana’s federal classification as a Schedule I drug, which prohibits the VA from prescribing it or reimbursing veterans for it.

Does Marijuana Disqualify You from VA Benefits?

Veterans who participate in state-approved medical marijuana programs are not disqualified from receiving VA benefits. The VA has adopted policies that allow veterans to discuss their marijuana use with their VA providers without fear of losing their eligibility for benefits.

That said, VA healthcare providers are federally employed and cannot prescribe medical marijuana or complete paperwork for state-approved marijuana programs. Veterans must obtain a recommendation for medical marijuana from a non-VA provider.

Will I Lose My VA Disability if I Fail a Drug Test?

Failing a drug test will not cause you to lose your VA benefits. These benefits are awarded based on service-related injuries or conditions, and their continuation is primarily contingent upon the status of these conditions.

However, if you break the law or receive a willful misconduct finding from the VA due to drug use, your benefits could be affected.


In conclusion, more veterans than ever are using medical cannabis to treat various medical issues, including PTSD, chronic pain, anxiety, and insomnia. Though federal law prevents the VA from prescribing or covering the cost of medical marijuana, veterans are still permitted to enroll in state-based programs to seek relief. That said, it’s still important to be mindful of relevant state and federal laws and communicate with the VA so as to retain your benefits.

If you’re a veteran seeking to treat a qualifying condition with cannabis, look no further than the Sanctuary Wellness Institute. We can connect you with a licensed medical marijuana doctor and guide you through the process of applying for an MMJ card in your home state.

Book an appointment with the Sanctuary today to discover whether you’re eligible for medical marijuana treatment.

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