- Jennifer Betz
Will Missouri Veterans Lose Their VA Benefits if They Use Medical Marijuana?
What you need to know if you’re a veteran in Missouri interested in therapeutic cannabis
People all over Missouri are using medical marijuana to treat some of the most common conditions among veterans, but veterans themselves are concerned about losing their benefits if they get a Missouri marijuana card.
Almost any veteran in the Show Me State may be diagnosed with chronic pain, PTSD, or one of the other qualifying conditions in Missouri. They have a high prevalence of these diagnoses and more, but many entirely depend on the benefits they get from the Department of Veterans Affairs to support themselves and their families.
Many veterans depend on the VA for their income, medicine, and even dental care—and no one wants to lose their insulin because they ate the wrong kind of gummy.
The good news for Missouri veterans is that the VA has clarified its position on medical marijuana, and no one is going to lose their monthly check or their healthcare because they have a marijuana card. Employees of the VA are restricted in their personal use, but veterans are encouraged to talk to their clinicians about their treatment choices.
In this post, we are going to take a look at some of the most important points related to medical marijuana for Missouri veterans.
Missouri Veterans Won’t Lose Their VA Benefits for Using Cannabis
Missouri veterans will be relieved to learn that having a marijuana card does not disqualify them from receiving VA benefits. The Department of Veterans Affairs has clarified that no VA employee is permitted to use medical marijuana, no clinician may recommend it, and no one can help veterans fill out the paperwork for a marijuana card.
However, VA patients are encouraged to discuss their therapeutic choices with their doctor. Doctors are required to make note of a patient’s cannabis use, and to incorporate it into their future treatment plans.
Having a frank discussion with your doctor about your medical marijuana use may help you feel more empowered with your treatment choices, and set you on a path to greater satisfaction with your patient/doctor relationship.
Top Conditions Among Missouri Veterans That Medical Marijuana May Help
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Mental disorders were the third most frequent diagnosis among veterans between 2008 and 2015. Not all of the diagnoses were PTSD. However, between 11 and 30 percent of all US veterans have been diagnosed with PTSD.
PTSD is even more prevalent among women who have served in the military, due to the prolific issue of sexual harassment, which can result in PTSD. 55% of women in the military have reported experiencing sexual harassment, and it’s difficult to tell how many of them have mental disorders because of their trauma.
Medical marijuana is an easily accessible treatment for veterans who are suffering, and there is a growing body of evidence indicating that it may provide relief from some of PTSD’s most troubling symptoms.
According to a Department of Defense study on healthcare utilization by veterans, the VA’s most frequent diagnosis between 2008 and 2015 was musculoskeletal ailments. Medical marijuana has been recognized as a potentially effective treatment for chronic pain, including nerve pain and musculoskeletal pain.
Cannabis can’t cure the conditions you have that cause pain. However, it can serve as a powerful tool in your pain management strategy.
Cannabis May Help Prevent Opioid Use Disorder
Missouri has struggled with the opioid crisis, and St. Louis has had an especially high number of overdoses and deaths as a result. The state reported a sharp rise in the number of fentanyl-related deaths over the last few years, and the VA has reported an equally sharp rise in the number of veterans that are diagnosed with opioid use disorder (OUD).
We still don’t understand all the factors that go into who develops OUD and who does not, but cannabis may play a key role in preventing it. Veterans are more likely to become addicted to opioids, but incorporating cannabis into a pain management strategy may prevent them from needing more addictive drugs in the first place.
Additionally, there have been some indications that people with OUD experience fewer and milder withdrawal symptoms, when they used cannabis as part of a medication assisted therapy plan to stop using opioids.
Traumatic Brain Injuries and Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy
Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) and chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) are more common among combat veterans than in most other groups. TBI is a more acute problem that can cause a great deal of pain and could worsen as people recover. CTE may lead to a degeneration of functioning, with worsening cognitive and behavioral symptoms over time.
Cannabis is used in an FDA approved medication to treat certain severe forms of epilepsy; marijuana is a widely accepted treatment for multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, and other neurological conditions; and it has neuroprotective and anti-inflammatory properties that may help alleviate symptoms and injuries related to TBI and CTE.
Get a Missouri Marijuana Card for the Relief You’ve Been Waiting For Without Losing Your VA Benefits!
No more hiding in the shadows while you use cannabis to treat your pain, your PTSD, or any of the other conditions you’ve found to benefit from medical marijuana use! With a Missouri marijuana card, your treatment is legal and your benefits are protected!
Give Virginia Marijuana Card a call at (877) 303-3117, or schedule a marijuana evaluation with one of our doctors today!
Doctors Who Care. Relief You Can Trust.
At Missouri Marijuana Card, our mission is helping everyone achieve wellness safely and conveniently through increased access to medical marijuana. Our focus on education, inclusion, and acceptance will reduce stigma for our patients by providing equal access to timely information and compassionate care.
Call us at (877) 303-3117, or simply book a medical marijuana evaluation to start getting relief you can trust today!
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