- Eli Hunt
Spotlight on Virginia Veterans: Which Conditions are Most Commonly Treated With Medical Marijuana?
Coming back from war or serving in the military often means coming home with unanticipated medical conditions. Many veterans in Virginia get medical marijuana cards in order to help with these conditions, ranging from chronic pain to anxiety-related conditions. If you are a veteran in Virginia interested in medical marijuana, you may be wondering what common conditions veterans use cannabis for. The list in the Commonwealth includes a wide range of conditions, some of which are commonly associated with military service, and some that are not so well-known.
Conditions that Qualify You for Medical Marijuana in Virginia
Virginia has codified the use of medical marijuana for a diverse array of medical conditions. In addition to any of the conditions listed here, patients may use medical marijuana to treat any condition a healthcare professional believes could improve with the use of cannabis. As a starting point, this master list of conditions can help veterans dial in on how medical marijuana can help them.
· Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)
· Cachexia and wasting syndrome
· Epilepsy and other seizure disorders
· Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)
· Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Of course, some of these conditions are more common in the veteran community than others, including anxiety, PTSD, and chronic pain. Let’s look at each in turn and how medical marijuana can help.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Cannabis
PTSD, or Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, is experienced by veterans at a rate that is four times higher than the general population. This anxiety-related condition results from experiencing a traumatic event and can leave patients with flashbacks, feelings of isolation, negative thinking and reactivity symptoms that make it difficult to integrate with society at times. In the veteran population, PTSD is often associated with traumatic brain injuries, substance abuse and depression.
How does medical marijuana help? In many ways. PTSD is commonly treated with a combination of therapy and psychiatric medications. Because of the nature of the disorder, however, patients often are resistant to therapy, and medication can come with complications, including unwanted side effects such as weight gain.
Medical marijuana provides relief instead by working with the cannabinoid receptors in the brain and body. Using medical marijuana can help those with PTSD experience less stress and anxiety, fewer hallucinations, and less depression. Vets may also get relief from some of the physical stressors associated with PTSD, such as insomnia and pain.
Chronic Pain and Medical Marijuana
It is estimated that pain impacts over 80 percent of the veteran community. Other studies have shown that veterans are 40 percent more likely to experience severe pain than non-veterans. Of the veterans experiencing some form of pain, one in three has a chronic condition. Chronic pain is often associated with other conditions common to vets, including depression and PTSD, as well.
Given the prevalence of chronic pain in the veteran community, it is no surprise that many veterans are turning to medical marijuana. There has been extensive research done into cannabis and pain treatment, and the results show how effective medical marijuana can be. Medical marijuana also provides a natural alternative to many synthetic pain medications or opioids that come with a heightened risk of addiction.
The Impact of Medical Marijuana on Anxiety
Anxiety is prevalent across the veteran community, whether experienced as an isolated condition or as a comorbid condition. While veterans, according to one study, were no more likely to experience anxiety than non-veterans, Vietnam Veterans were twice as likely to experience the condition as veterans from World War II or the Korean War.
Anxiety becomes a bigger issue in the veteran community when it is linked with PTSD. Research done on veterans with PTSD found that anxiety sensitivity— an exaggerated fear of experiencing anxiety— was more likely to occur in those with a higher severity of PTSD. The research suggested that anxiety experienced in this context by veterans correlated with a possible higher risk of suicidal behavior, too.
How can medical marijuana help? Medical marijuana products with higher concentrations of CBD have been found to alleviate common symptoms associated with anxiety in patients, including insomnia and fatigue. Products with high CBD are also able to do this without triggering more anxiety because of their lower concentrations of THC. By working with a doctor, veterans can develop a comprehensive treatment plan to address their anxiety that incorporates medical marijuana with other treatments such as therapy and lifestyle practices.
Medical Marijuana and the US Department of Veterans Affairs
As far as the federal government goes, cannabis is still a Schedule 1 substance and, therefore, illegal. For this reason, Veterans Affairs doctors at the many VA facilities around the U.S. and Virginia cannot prescribe medical marijuana. It is also recommended that veterans always avoid bringing their medical marijuana into a VA facility, even when it has been received from a state-sanctioned dispensary in the Commonwealth.
Veterans do not need to fear, however, that their benefits will be under threat if they do partake in medical marijuana. VA doctors are also encouraged to discuss medical marijuana with their veteran patients, and to use that information to make sure they are developing the best treatment plan possible. Veterans who are participating in state-sanctioned medical marijuana programs should feel free to discuss this medical intervention as an important part of their overall treatment plan at a VA facility.
Get Your VA Marijuana Card Now!
Since veterans are unable to access medical marijuana via the VA, many veterans in Virginia are going the medical marijuana card route instead. With a Virginia Marijuana Card, veterans in the Commonwealth can get
help with common conditions such as PTSD and chronic pain, in addition to a wide range of other conditions.
The cannabis doctors and patient support staff at Virginia Marijuana Card can provide a quality of care veterans deserve and expect. We’ll take the time to answer all your questions, and follow-up appointments are free for the entire 12 months that your medical card is valid through us. Schedule an appointment with an online medical marijuana doctor today to start gaining access to safe, legal cannabis products, including tinctures, flower, concentrates and more.
Doctors Who Care.
Relief You Can Trust.
At Virginia Marijuana Card, our mission is helping everyone achieve wellness
safely and conveniently through increased access to MMJ. Our focus on
education, inclusion, and acceptance will reduce the stigma for our patients by
providing equal access to timely information and compassionate care.
Call us at (888) 633-5808, or simply book a medical marijuana evaluation to start getting relief you can trust today!
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