Honors College | Scholars Week Theses Presentations

Title

Optimization of Medicinal Marijuana in the VA Health Care System

Presenter Information

Maureen DaviesFollow

Academic Level at Time of Presentation

Senior

Major

Biology: Pre-Pharmacy

Minor

Chemistry

List all Project Mentors & Advisor(s)

Sterling Wright, PhD

Presentation Format

Oral Presentation

Abstract/Description

Despite an accumulation of evidence related to the beneficial effects of therapeutic marijuana in treatment of PTSD, armed forces veterans are still denied access to medical marijuana as part of any treatment program. In fact, the Veteran’s Administration (VA) has the right to retract benefits from veterans who use marijuana, whether for medicinal or recreational purposes. Although the VA is not permitted to fund a treatment program that is not federally legalized, many veterans would choose to utilize medicinal marijuana as an alternative treatment program for PTSD, even though the treatment would not be covered by insurance. If the VA were to sanction the use of medical marijuana as an acceptable treatment for PTSD, the total VA expenditure for PTSD treatment would be markedly reduced. The purpose of this thesis is to examine whether or not armed forces veterans would prefer to pay out of pocket for medicinal marijuana instead of using other treatments for PTSD that are paid for by their VA health benefits. This was analyzed through a survey given to veterans at a VA health clinic. The results of these surveys will then be used to calculate the potential savings created by allowing veterans to use medical marijuana as an alternative treatment program for PTSD. Positive responses from veterans on the surveys coupled with considerable savings for VA health care could indicate the potential to reconsider allowing veterans to choose medicinal marijuana, or other similar disallowed alternative treatment programs, for numerous health conditions.

Affiliations

Honors Thesis

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Optimization of Medicinal Marijuana in the VA Health Care System

Despite an accumulation of evidence related to the beneficial effects of therapeutic marijuana in treatment of PTSD, armed forces veterans are still denied access to medical marijuana as part of any treatment program. In fact, the Veteran’s Administration (VA) has the right to retract benefits from veterans who use marijuana, whether for medicinal or recreational purposes. Although the VA is not permitted to fund a treatment program that is not federally legalized, many veterans would choose to utilize medicinal marijuana as an alternative treatment program for PTSD, even though the treatment would not be covered by insurance. If the VA were to sanction the use of medical marijuana as an acceptable treatment for PTSD, the total VA expenditure for PTSD treatment would be markedly reduced. The purpose of this thesis is to examine whether or not armed forces veterans would prefer to pay out of pocket for medicinal marijuana instead of using other treatments for PTSD that are paid for by their VA health benefits. This was analyzed through a survey given to veterans at a VA health clinic. The results of these surveys will then be used to calculate the potential savings created by allowing veterans to use medical marijuana as an alternative treatment program for PTSD. Positive responses from veterans on the surveys coupled with considerable savings for VA health care could indicate the potential to reconsider allowing veterans to choose medicinal marijuana, or other similar disallowed alternative treatment programs, for numerous health conditions.