On Thursday, the House of Representatives struck down a bill that would have increased access to medical marijuana for military veterans.
“Veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan with debilitating injuries are often prescribed highly addictive opioid painkillers with severe side effects, particularly for long-term use,” said Dr. E. Deborah Gilman, a recently retired VA physician. “Marijuana possess significantly less risk of dependence, along with fewer and less severe side effects. What’s more, studies have shown marijuana can be an effective supplemental therapy by reducing patients’ reliance on opioids, or even acting as a ‘reverse gateway’ by replacing narcotic painkillers altogether. Other research shows states where medical marijuana is legal have a 25 percent lower rate of fatal overdoses from opioids.”