What Veterans Should Know

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Cannabis & The VA

  • Missouri’s Medical Marijuana program has generated $8.9 million for Missouri Veterans to date (Sept 2021).

  • Veterans will not be denied VA benefits because of marijuana use.

  • Veterans are encouraged to discuss marijuana use with their VA providers.

  • VA health care providers will record marijuana use in the Veteran’s VA medical record in order to have the information available in treatment planning. As with all clinical information, this is part of the confidential medical record and protected under patient privacy and confidentiality laws and regulations.

  • VA clinicians may not recommend medical marijuana.

  • Because cannabis is still classified as a Schedule I controlled substance, veterans who use cannabis are not eligible for VA employment.

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How Cannabis May Help:

Many Veterans have sought relief from PTSD symptoms by way of medicinal cannabis. PTSD changes the structure and function of the amygdala. The amygdala is a small, almond-shaped portion of the brain associated with emotional memory and fear conditioning.  Cannabinoids (chemical compounds found in cannabis) and Endocannabinoids (involved in the regulation of appetite, pain, mood, and memory) exert their effects through interactions with the Central Nervous System, and in terms of PTSD, encourage regulation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenocortical (HPA) axis, function of the hippocampus & amygdala, and regulation of memory processes. In short, the endocannabinoid system is associated with the elimination of aversive memories resulting in:

  • Anxiety Management
  • Night Terror Reduction
  • Improved Sleep
  • Improved Overall Quality of Life

Please note any new medical treatment should be discussed with a medical professional. Please seek professional medical advice for any change in treatment.

A team of investigators affiliated with the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine, John Hopkins University, and the University of Colorado School of Medicine compared PTSD symptoms in cannabis-using patients relative to non-users over a one-year period. Cannabis consuming participants primarily accessed THC-dominant flowers from state-authorized retailers. Researchers reported: “Participants who used primarily THC-dominant cannabis reported a greater reduction in PTSD symptom severity over time compared to controls. Cannabis users also showed a greater than two-fold rate of remission from their PTSD diagnosis (defined by no longer meeting criteria for a PTSD diagnosis on the CAPS-5) compared to controls by the 1-year follow-up assessment.” They concluded: “This study provides evidence that the types of cannabis available in recreational and medical cannabis dispensaries might hold promise as an alternative treatment for PTSD.” 

Excerpt from Norml article (December 2020), Study: Long-Term Cannabis Use Associated with Reduced Symptoms in Patients with Post-Traumatic Stress”

Kaufman Fund

Kaufman Fund

Missouri Health and Wellness is a proud sponsor of The Kaufman Fund. Founded in 1990 in memory of Ralph Kaufman by his brother, Wayne Kaufman, The Kaufman Fund is dedicated to serving Veteran's & their families.

  • Therapy
    Veterans with PTSD may receive equine, or dog assisted therapy and art therapy. Veterans with mental health challenges find more access to care through Kaufman's Mental Health Collaborative.
  • Holidays
    Veteran families receive FREE Christmas Trees & stands at the Holidays. The Kaufman Fund gives away 300 Christmas Trees each year. Winter coats, hats, and gloves are distributed to disadvantaged Veterans for the winter.
  • Healthcare
    Veteran and active-duty military members' families receive assistance when they are in the hospital. Offering Veterans in need of Dental Assistance not covered by the VA through Kaufman Fund's Dental Program.
  • Family Assistance
    Helping children of Veterans with grief counseling after losing a loved one, scholarship funds for children of Veteran's, & assisting homeless Veteran's and their families find housing.
  • Civilian Life
    Supporting Veterans at the University of Missouri St. Louis Vet Center as they transition to Civilian Life, assisting Veteran's who have legal issues with an attorney through The Kaufman Fund Legal Program, & finding employment for unemployed Veterans.
  • Active Duty
    Sending care packages to deployed military members serving our country.