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VA Rejects Cannabis Research As Veterans Plead For Medical Use

Bipartisan calls from Congress are asking why.

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This story originally appeared on Benzinga

The VA will not expand its cannabis research, despite recent bipartisan calls from Congress, doctors and veterans.

The recent withdrawal from Afghanistan has exacerbated the demand for more understanding of cannabis for treatment, however, without research, the VA continues to deny cannabis recommendations to veterans in 36 states that allow medical marijuana, reported Politico.

RELATED: U.S. Congress Clashes With Veterans Affairs Bureau Over Medical Cannabis

Congress pushes for cannabis research

Rep. Lou Correa (D-Calif.) introduced a bill that would instruct the VA to study cannabis for PTSD, depression and a number of other conditions. At the same time, Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) introduced an amendment to a must-pass defense spending bill that would allow VA physicians to recommend medical marijuana under state-regulated programs and conduct research.

“The VA keeps saying, 'We have the authority, we don't need you to micromanage us.’ But we do — because they're not doing their job," Correa said.

Veterans say that has forced many to suffer, while some researchers suggest the VA also may be ignoring potential ill effects when used inappropriately, wrote Politico.

RELATED: Former Marines Embark On A Marijuana Mission For Veterans

Cannabis research for veterans

Meanwhile, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) confirmed in a report that at least 60,000 veterans had died by suicide between 2008 and 2017. Currently, 17 to 20 veterans per day take their own lives, reports the VA.

The VA seems to find the new legislation to be redundant and therefore unnecessary. As stated in testimony: “The proposed legislation is redundant to the extent that VA is already examining risks and benefits of cannabis in treating PTSD and chronic pain. For these reasons, VA does not support this proposed legislation.”