The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has taken some of the classifications of cannabidiol off the Schedule One controlled substance list. The action came three months after the FDA approved its first non-synthetic, cannabis-derived medicine; a CBD preparation used for rare types of epilepsy. The drug, Epidiolex, is made from cannabis (hemp) grown in the United Kingdom. This declassification will now allow the sale of the first non-synthetic, cannabis-derived medicine in the United States.

The United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has always followed the FDA federal laws regarding marijuana. As long as the FDA classifies Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) as a Schedule One drug, the VA health providers will not recommend medical marijuana, nor will assist Veterans to obtain it in any form. However, Veterans will not be denied VA benefits because of marijuana use and they are encouraged to discuss marijuana use with their VA providers. Surprisingly, the federal government will allow VA scientists to conduct research on marijuana benefits and risks, as well as, potential for abuse, under regulatory approval.

Today, veterans have many options to obtain THC medical marijuana as more States in the U.S. approve the use of cannabis for medical and recreational use. Veterans participation in state THC marijuana programs do not affect eligibility for VA care and services. VA providers can, and do discuss marijuana use with Veterans as part of a comprehensive care plan, and adjust treatment plans as deemed necessary. VA health care providers will record marijuana use in the Veteran’s VA medical record. Veterans are reminded the use or possession of marijuana is prohibited at all VA medical centers, locations and grounds. This is due to the fact, federal laws are enforced on VA grounds, not the laws of the state.

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