More than 9 of 10 military veterans want more research into the medical benefits of marijuana, according to a new survey funded by the American Legion.
America’s military veterans clearly believe that medical marijuana has potential therapeutic applications that could be beneficial for addressing their health concerns. According to a new poll by the American Legion, the nation’s largest veterans service organization:
- More than 92 percent of veterans support expanding research into medical marijuana
- 83 percent believe the federal government should legalize medical marijuana nationwide
- Over 80 percent favor allowing federal doctors to recommend cannabis to veterans
“We already know that greater than 80% of the American public supports research into the efficacy of medical cannabis,” Joe Plenzler, spokesman for the American Legion, told The Cannabist. “What this survey shows is that America’s veterans feel even more strongly about the need to study cannabis and its potential in treating PTSD, chronic pain and other ailments veterans face everyday.”
Because marijuana remains prohibited under federal law, physicians with Veterans Affairs (VA) are unable to recommend cannabis to veterans for therapeutic purposes, even in states where medical marijuana is legal.
Why Veterans and the American Legion Are So Vocal in Their Support
The American Legion has been a vocal advocate for the rescheduling of cannabis under the Controlled Substances Act, as it would open up more research opportunities into its medical efficacy.
A growing body of evidence indicates that cannabis can be beneficial for several conditions common among veterans, including:
- Managing chronic pain
- Reducing anxiety
- Controlling fear and emotional impact related to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
“Not only does [medical cannabis] have the potential to help veterans, but it could make headway in the country’s epidemic of opioid addiction,” Rep. Julia Brownley (D-Calif.) said at a press conference unveiling the poll details.
Weeks ago, the American Legion publicly called on the VA to actively support an FDA-approved research study that will investigate medical marijuana’s efficacy for PTSD in veterans. In August, during the Legion’s national convention in Reno, the organization passed Resolution 28, which calls on the federal government to give veterans legal access to medical cannabis.+
Results of the Veteran Survey
“You can’t change a policy just based on anecdotal evidence,” said Lou Celli, director of the American Legion’s Veterans Affairs and Rehabilitation Division. “But there is enough evidence that at least warrants looking further into medical cannabis.”
The Legion’s new poll, conducted by Five Corners Strategies, found that support for cannabis research expanded across age groups, political affiliation and geographic factors.
Here are some additional highlights from the survey:
- 22 percent of veterans are currently using cannabis for medical purposes
- Over 50 percent of cannabis-using veterans are over the age of 60
- 40 percent of caregivers said they know a veteran who is using medical cannabis
- 79 percent of those aged 60+ support federally legalized medical cannabis
- 60 percent of respondents do not live in states where medical marijuana is legal
The survey had 1,360 respondents from across the U.S. Full details of the poll are available via the American Legion.
Learn More Potential Benefits of Cannabis for Veterans
Thousands of studies have been done on cannabis and its cannabinoids. You can learn more about the research findings related to PTSD, chronic pain, anxiety, and many other conditions by visiting our education page.