A new study published in the Journal of Drug and Alcohol Dependence found that cannabis use among veterans is a complex issue. The study looked at how cannabis use differed between different veteran demographics, including those who served during wartime, those who served during peacetime, and those who had never been deployed.
The Veteran cannabis consumption is a study that was published by researchers at the University of California, San Diego. It looks at how veterans consume cannabis and how it affects their health.
A team of researchers from Pennsylvania’s Center of Excellence in Substance Addiction Treatment and Education at the Corporal Michael J. Crescenz VA Medical Center has published the results of a new study on cannabis use disorder (CUD) among veterans.
Veterans in susceptible categories have a higher chance of developing cannabis use disorder (CUD) or are more likely to use the plant recreationally, according to the researchers. The American Journal of Psychiatry published their theory. The researchers were able to perform a preliminary study of consuming behavior among veterans by assessing “the prevalence of past-12-month and lifetime cannabis use and cannabis use disorder” among American veterans.
The researchers also looked at how “nonmedical” cannabis usage and CUD are linked to demographics, drug use, and mental illnesses. The researchers wanted to see whether there were any differences in CUD prevalence and recreational cannabis use across veteran groups living in both legal and illegal cannabis jurisdictions.
3,000 veterans took part in the CUD survey.
Despite the fact that the study’s sample size might have been greater, researchers were pleased with the information collected from 3,119 participants. The data was taken from a 2012–2013 National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions–III, and all respondents identified as American military veterans (NESARC-III).
The team of researchers used a logistic analysis model in conjunction with clinical and demographic data to properly evaluate the link between CUD and adult cannabis usage among veterans. They were able to get a better picture of recreational cannabis use frequency based on each veteran’s place of residency and the progress of cannabis legalization in their individual home states using this information.
The prevalence of CUD and adult cannabis usage was assessed during the past 12 months. Consumption rates were 1.8 percent and 7.3 percent, respectively, according to the results. In contrast, the lifetime prevalence of cannabis was 5.7 percent and 32.5 percent, respectively.
The prevalence of CUD in the preceding 12 months and lifetime was assessed to be 24.4 percent and 17.4 percent, respectively, among adult cannabis users by the study team. The scientists stated, “Nonmedical cannabis use and use disorder were linked with the majority of mental and drug use disorders examined.”
Cannabis Consumption Patterns Varied by Demographics
The connections related to various sociodemographic categories were perhaps the most noteworthy findings from this research on CUD and adult cannabis use among veterans. Single (unmarried) veterans, young soldiers, male veterans, veterans who live in a medical cannabis-friendly state, and veterans on a low income were among the sociodemographic categories studied for this research.
Kendall C. Browne, Ph.D., the study’s lead author, said, “Among veterans, the odds of nonmedical cannabis use and use disorder were elevated among vulnerable subgroups, including those with lower income or psychiatric disorders, and among survey participants residing in states with medical marijuana laws.”
He highlighted how the study’s results show the need to improve screening procedures and expand the amount of services accessible to veterans who are at “high risk” of acquiring CUD. “In the context of growing cannabis legalization, the study results emphasize the need for clinical attention (e.g., screening, evaluation) and continuing monitoring among veterans,” said Browne, who is now leading a more in-depth clinical research project.
Browne’s latest endeavor is gathering data from the Veterans Health Administration’s computerized medical records. He and his colleagues will look at the data to see how medical/recreational cannabis legislation affect psychotropic drug prescriptions and opioids, such as rates of opioid use disorder, fatal and nonfatal overdoses, and prescriptions.
Senators voted to expand access to medical cannabis for veterans.
In related news, a powerful Senate committee just passed an amendment that would provide military veterans easier access to medicinal marijuana treatments. Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) sponsored the bill, which was passed by a voice vote in the Senate Appropriations Committee on August 4.
The amendment aims to provide physicians in the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) the authority to make cannabis prescriptions if the veteran lives in a state where cannabis is legal. The law also prohibits the VA from blocking or rejecting medicinal cannabis treatments for veterans who have signed up for a state-legal program.
“We now have medicinal cannabis in 36 states, and our veterans want to hear from their VA doctor about the benefits and drawbacks, as well as the proper role and difficulties of this specific approach for treating a number of problems, including PTSD,” Merkley said. “I believe it is critical that we do not prevent our veterans from discussing this topic with their doctors.”
The following is an extract from the amendment language, which is part of a law, detailing the VA’s financing options for Fiscal Year 2022:
“SEC. No monies allocated or otherwise made available to the Department of Veterans Affairs under this Act may be used to:
- Interfere with a veteran’s ability to engage in a state-approved medical marijuana program;
- Refuse to provide any Department services to a veteran who is enrolled in such a program; or
- Limit or obstruct a Department of Health and Human Services health care provider’s capacity to make appropriate recommendations, fill out paperwork, or take measures to comply with a program.”
Senator Merkley also proposed a similar measure in 2018. Despite passing the Appropriations Committee, it was unable to go further. Similar pieces of legislation have been approved by the House on many occasions throughout the years. Despite this, a bill allowing VA physicians to write medicinal cannabis prescriptions has never made it to the final stages of implementation.
Bethan Rose is a cannabis activist, writer, and nomad who has no fixed address. She is now living in Bali and can typically be found on her hammock collecting cannabis material.