Veteran Affairs Canada paying for 26 former soldiers to receive medical marijuana

In Top Stories by David Silverberg

Veteran Affairs Canada revealed recently 26 vets are getting support for participation in Health Canada’s Marihuana Medical Access Regulations (MMAR) program. Ten use it to treat post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), the Ottawa Citizen writes.

This revelation came about in the Citizen’s profile of Ontario resident Chris Hillier, who said Veterans Affairs agreed to pay for his medical marijuana, as long as he bought it from Health Canada’s supplier, Prairie Plant Systems. Hillier suffers from PTSD, “a condition he believes was worsened by conventional pharmaceuticals prescribed by military doctors.”

However, the Canadian Forces will not consider prescribing marijuana to active members who might have the same health issues, either, as the Citizen writes.

“The CF are committed to evidence-based medicine that has been thoroughly tested in multiple trials and published in peer-reviewed journals,” said Canadian Forces Health Service spokeswoman Colleen Boicey in an email.

A 2007 message sent to Canadian Forces doctors specifically forbids them from helping patients get marijuana.

“No CF physician, third-party contract physician . . . or a physician engaged under a DND contact will assist the patient to complete the submission to Health Canada under the MMAR,” says the directive, released to the Ottawa Citizen under the Access to Information Act.

“The forces will pay for authorized Health Canada marijuana if members get approved by another doctor, but base pharmacies will not participate in its supply,” according to the Citizen.

In July, the Medical Marijuana Review reported on the U.S. Department of Veteran affairs clarifying its policy to allow patients treated at its hospitals and clinics to use medical marijuana in states where it is legal.

Also this year, it was found that marijuana can be beneficial in treating PTSD and related conditions. PTSD sufferers using marijuana reported fewer flashbacks, better sleep and clearer thinking.