VA chief: Medical marijuana could help vets

VA chief: Medical marijuana could help vets
Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin said Wednesday he's open to expanding the use of medical marijuana to help service members suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), but noted it’s strictly limited by federal law.
 
“There may be some evidence that this is beginning to be helpful and we’re interested in looking at that and learning from that,” Shulkin told reporters, pointing to states where medical pot is legal.
 
The VA has come under pressure from some influential veterans groups, including the American Legion, to reclassify marijuana to allow federal research into its effect on troops with PTSD or traumatic brain injuries. 
 
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Under current policy, VA doctors are barred from prescribing medical marijuana to patients, but Congress passed a measure last year allowing them to discuss it in states where it is legal.
 
“Right now, federal law does not prevent us at VA to look at that as an option for veterans,” said Shulkin, who is a trained physician. “I believe that everything that could help veterans should be debated by Congress and by medical experts and we will implement that law."
 
Relaxing enforcement of marijuana laws, however, would conflict with several top administration officials who take a hard-line approach on drugs, including Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) SessionsFBI opens tip line requesting information on Charlottesville rally Sessions rails against Chicago during visit to Miami DOJ warrant of Trump resistance site triggers alarm MORE
 
Shulkin, who spoke at the White House about President Trump’s proposed reforms at the scandal-plagued agency, is a holdover from the Obama administration. The Senate confirmed him unanimously in February to lead the VA.