As CBD gains in popularity and prominence, veterans groups across the country have joined a chorus of voices in praising its benefits while fiercely advocating for more widespread use of the hemp extract. Soldiers and their families have taken to lobbying Washington and their local politicians for more access to CBD in hopes of combating a slew of ailments unique to the veteran population. With Memorial Day right around the corner, it is worth examining why veterans groups are pushing for more expanded use of CBD among the military community.
An Epidemic Magnified
As CBS News recently reported, veterans groups are coming back home from overseas suffering from both chronic pain and PTSD. Many have found themselves victims of the ongoing opioid epidemic, leaving them to confront another battle on the homefront. According to CBS News, these veterans have been hit twice as hard as the general population, first by their war injuries, and then by the addiction that follows.
“I was at a higher than likely rate of committing suicide from pain,” Navy veteran Veronica Wayne told lawmakers, as reported by CBS News. An airplane maintenance hatch hit Nancy in the head, resulting in a 17 year battle with pain medication.
“I basically became a walking zombie,” she said.
Wayne told the news outlet that she had tried marijuana, but it still left her feeling impaired. She eventually found relief in CBD oil, but due to its status as a Schedule I drug, it is difficult for her to obtain. “You can’t get it from the VA. It’s not, it’s not legal,” she told CBS News.
Because of its Schedule I status the VA is prohibited from recommending CBD to veterans, or even from researching to further explore its benefits. Veterans groups such as the American Legion are leaning hard on Washington to make changes.
Spreading The Word
Jamie Robinson is a CBD Educator based out of Denver who works with veterans to help them understand the benefits of CBD oil. Dedicated to her job, she even helps combat animals, called combat K9’s, and their owners to learn more about how CBD can help pets possibly improve their quality of life.
Jamie wandered into the world of CBD when her sister, a military veteran, was found to have brain cysts that caused hand tremors. After suffering 14 years without a diagnosis or cure, Jamie decided to explore the benefits of CBD and learned just how much it could help not only with physical pain but with the anguish that comes with psychological conditions, such as PTSD, which affects a growing number of veterans coming home from overseas.
Unfortunately Jamie, and most other veterans are fighting an uphill battle. As healthcentral.com noted, what little studies the VA has done on medical cannabis and CBD have found negative to negligible results, going against the bulk of research available today.
The Tides May Be Turning
Still, veterans may soon have cause to celebrate as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) recently introduced legislation to legalize hemp. In McConnell’s eyes, hemp is a valuable cash crop for his state. Whatever the reasons, veterans groups agree that hemp-derived CBD needs to be made more readily available to the military population.
“Anything that makes a veteran feel better — especially something that’s non-toxic — is something we’re going to support,” said Louis Celli, national director of Veterans Affairs and rehabilitation at the American Legion in an interview with CBS News.