Former VA Secretary: “Time Is Now” to Research Medical Cannabis

Former Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin has called on the federal government to eliminate the “hoops” making cannabis research so difficult.

Full story after the jump.

In an interview with Task & Purpose, former Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin said the “time is now” to research medical cannabis, adding that the federal “hoops” researchers have to jump through make it “too difficult” for most to study the plant.

“I believe that the VA should be involved in research on anything that could potentially help veterans and improve their health and well-being.” – Shulkin, to Task & Purpose

Shulkin said he believes that medical marijuana access could help stem suicides by military men and women because the suicides are often linked to chronic pain, depression, and substance abuse. He said that he believes “properly prescribed” medical cannabis “may have some real benefits in anxiety improvement, in pain management, and potentially, in the issue of substance abuse.”

“And therefore, I believe it’s extremely appropriate for VA to be researching and developing therapies that can help veterans, particularly in areas where we don’t have enough good therapies or answers,” he said in the interview.

The former VA secretary said he did see a “way forward” for veterans to access medical cannabis – namely federal legislative solutions which could streamline and clarify the rules and regulations for medical cannabis research.

Shulkin said he had “no indication” that President Donald Trump “wouldn’t be supportive” of changes to allow the VA to study medical cannabis.

Shulkin was appointed to the role in 2015 by President Barack Obama and served until 2017.

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