This Company Is Offering Cannabis For U.S. Military Veterans At A 30% To 50% Discount
During an exclusive conversation, wholesale cannabis delivery company Flower Co. said it is now offering a complimentary membership to all U.S. Military veterans through FlowerVets.com. The membership, usually priced at $119 per year, provides access to the company’s catalogue of cannabis products, priced at a 30 to 50 percent discount versus traditional dispensaries.
The California-based cannabis company, founded on the idea that high-quality cannabis should be accessible to those who need it, offers a unique subscription-based model that gives members access to the convenient pricing.
“We built Flower Co. on the premise that every person deserves safe, fair and affordable access to cannabis,” said Ted Lichtenberger, co-founder and CEO of Flower Co. “Our military veterans, who risk their life for our country, are no exception to this, which is why we are offering them a complimentary membership to our services.”
A Strong Partnership
Flower Co. partnered with the Veterans Cannabis Group on this initiative, seeking to support the organization’s mission to advocate for the use of medicinal cannabis to treat the symptoms of PTSD among U.S. Military veterans.
Cannabis and CBD can help veterans with pain, anxiety and PTSD, several studies have shown. Many of these studies have also suggested cannabis provides a safe alternative to pills currently being prescribed to veterans to treat their ailments – many of which have strong side effects and high addictive potential.
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“[Cannabis] took a little bit for it to grow on me, but within a month those [pharma] drugs [I was taking previously] were in the trash. It’s a simple solution for a majority of what’s going on.”
U.S. Military Veteran
“I can attest to the multitude of health issues that veterans face after their service ends,” said Aaron Augustis, U.S. Army Veteran and Founder of Veterans Cannabis Group. “In my experience, the medicinal effects of cannabis have had a positive impact when dealing with traumatic events, and it’s important that our veterans have cannabis as an option.”
As part of the program, Flower Co. interviewed veterans about their experience with cannabis and will be releasing a series of videos that shine a light on some of the issues that surround cannabis today. See the trailer below.
The veteran on the trailer introduces himself and brings up his four tours to Afghanistan and a couple other countries. “That one thing that I found replaced everything they gave me,” he voices, clearly talking about cannabis.
His entire experience with the U.S. Military was hectic, he reveals. “As you can imagine, for 18, 19, 20-year-old kids it is pretty crazy.
“The first time he went to see his VA medical provider, sharing “everything that was going on, everything that happened… broken back, TBI, severe hearing loss, all kinds of injuries… I left that day, the first day I met this guy, with eight prescription drugs: painkillers, sleeping medicines, anxiety medicine, you name it… That’s kind of what was causing things, wheels not to turn right in my head, and I wasn’t really who I was anymore so my girlfriend was like, ‘hey you need to try CBD or THC.’ So I tried it.
“It took a little bit for it to grow on me, but within a month those [pharma] drugs [I was taking previously] were in the trash. It’s a simple solution for a majority of what’s going on,” he ends.
Will I Lose My VA Disability Benefits If I Use Marijuana?
Many veterans wonder if marijuana use will affect their VA disability compensation. Even though some states have legalized medical and/or recreational marijuana use, it is still considered a Schedule One Controlled Substance under federal law. This means the federal government views it as illegal. However, veterans will not be denied VA benefits for their marijuana use.
In This Article About Pot and VA Disability:
States That Have Legalized Marijuana
The states listed below are states that have fully legalized marijuana, meaning that it is decriminalized and can be legally used for medicinal purposes or otherwise.
- New Mexico
- South Dakota
- New York
- New Jersey
- Washington, D.C.
Because marijuana laws can change at a rapid pace, they can be confusing to follow. The Defense Information Systems Agency has an interactive map of all 50 states’ marijuana legalization status that updates monthly for easy access.
If I Use Marijuana, What Does That Mean for My VA Benefits?
Because marijuana is considered a Schedule One Controlled Substance at the federal level, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is required to follow all federal laws and regulations, including those about marijuana. This means that VA health care providers are not allowed to recommend or assist veterans in obtaining it.
However, if a veteran participates in a state marijuana program, that does not affect eligibility for VA services and care. VA providers are encouraged to discuss marijuana use with veterans to aid in comprehensive care planning and to adjust treatment plans as needed.
Here are some other important facts that veterans need to know about marijuana use:
- VA health care providers will document marijuana use in a veteran’s medical record for use in treatment planning. This information will always be confidential and protected under patient privacy and confidentiality laws and regulations.
- VA health care providers may not recommend medical marijuana.
- VA pharmacies may not fill prescriptions for medical marijuana.
- The use or possession of marijuana is prohibited at all VA medical centers, grounds, and locations.
- VA health care providers may not complete paperwork or forms required for veteran patients to participate in state-approved marijuana programs.
- The VA will not pay for medical marijuana prescriptions from any source.
Does the VA Drug Test?
When you have routine lab work done such as blood tests or urinalyses at any VA hospital or clinic, they may check for drugs. It is important to note that blood tests and urinalyses are performed to check for conditions and abnormalities, not to specifically check for the presence of drugs.
The VA uses the standardized 4 drug detection kit. This test shows the presence of narcotics (Vicodin, morphine, Oxycontin, and others), marijuana, cocaine (or crack), and amphetamines. Some tests might detect benzodiazepines such as Valium and similar drugs.
Another purpose of routine blood tests and urinalyses is to ensure that you are taking your prescribed medications properly. The VA’s policy states that it is up to each treating doctor to decide how to handle a veteran’s marijuana use. VA doctors cannot prescribe medicinal marijuana, but they can choose to ignore the use of it if they do not see a problem.
If they do see a problem, they most likely would be concerned about the potential interference of using prescribed medications and marijuana. You would most likely be instructed to make the choice of using marijuana or prescribed medications. This is strictly a therapeutic decision by the provider. As mentioned above, it should be clear that the VA does not routinely test for illegal drugs.
In this video, one of our VA disability lawyers talks about the VA Rating Formula for Mental Disorders and Disabilities like PTSD.
Are Marijuana Use and Willful Misconduct Related?
Unfortunately, there is not a simple answer to this question. Willful misconduct is an intentional act or omission which is in disregard of a known risk. If you receive a willful misconduct finding, you may not be eligible for VA disability benefits. The Code of Federal Regulations states that a mere technical violation of police ordinances or regulations will not necessarily constitute willful misconduct.
You will not receive a willful misconduct finding for using marijuana if it did not cause injury, death, or disease. The VA may find that marijuana use is related to trying to cope with PTSD or other conditions. This would be a condition eligible for a VA rating and compensation. On the flip side, the VA can punish you if the willful misconduct was found to be a result of abusing drugs for fun and you were not using the drugs as a coping mechanism for something you were diagnosed with.
To summarize, it is possible to receive a willful misconduct finding from marijuana use if it causes an injury, disease, or death. As stated above, there are exceptions to this rule. If you have questions about willful misconduct, feel free to contact us, and we can answer your questions.
The VA Medical Cannabis Research Act of 2021
The VA Medical Cannabis Research Act of 2021 was introduced into the Senate on April 29, 2021. This is not the first time legislation like this has been considered by Congress.
The purpose of the bill is to require the VA to perform clinical research on the safety and efficacy of medical cannabis in treating veterans for PTSD and chronic pain. A growing number of veterans use medical cannabis to treat their symptoms. The bill would require the VA to acknowledge that. At the time of this article’s publication, the bill was still being considered in the Senate. The Committee on Veterans’ Affairs held a hearing in June 2021.
The Veterans Medical Marijuana Safe Harbor Act of 2021
The Veterans Medical Marijuana Safe Harbor Act was first introduced in the Senate in February 2019 and was reintroduced into the current Congress in April of 2021. The bill would allow doctors at the VA to prescribe medical marijuana to veterans in states that have established medical marijuana programs. The bill would also create a temporary five-year safe harbor protection for veterans who use medical marijuana and would encourage the VA to research how medical marijuana could help veterans better manage chronic pain and reduce opioid abuse.
The bill was referred to the Committee on Energy and Commerce and the Committees on the Judiciary, and Veterans’ Affairs. Most recently, the bill was referred to the Subcommittee on Health, but at the time of this article’s publication, the Senate has taken no further action has been taken.
Marijuana for PTSD Symptoms
Veterans who suffer from PTSD have been reporting for years that cannabis helps manage their PTSD. There have been multiple studies examining the relationship between cannabis and PTSD symptoms. One study found that cannabis reduced the severity of intrusions, which are described as returning thoughts of a traumatic event, by about 62%, irritability by 67%, flashbacks by 51%, and anxiety by 57%. The study suggested that cannabis does reduce PTSD symptoms acutely, but it might not have longer-term beneficial effects.
A study published in December 2020 had promising news for the long-term benefits of cannabis for PTSD. The findings concluded that people with PTSD saw a greater reduction in their symptoms, but they were 2.57 times more likely to recover from PTSD during the study than those who were not using cannabis.
Limited research makes it difficult to assess the potential for cannabis as a method of treatment for PTSD. Other studies show somewhat inconclusive results on the effectiveness of cannabis in treating PTSD symptoms.
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Veterans Cannabis Project
The Veterans Cannabis Project was founded by Nick Etten, a former Navy SEAL, in September 2017. The focus of the Veterans Cannabis Project is to advocate for veterans to have access to medical cannabis for treatment. Thirty-four U.S. states allow the use of medical cannabis and 83% of U.S. veterans support medical cannabis programs.
You can apply to become an advocate of the Veterans Cannabis Project here. As an advocate, you can get the chance to tell your story to policymakers and the public about why you advocate for cannabis treatment for veterans.
Veterans Cannabis Coalition
Eric Goepel founded the Veterans Cannabis Coalition in 2017 after serving in the U.S. Army for seven years and then continuing his education by obtaining his degree in political science. Goepel is dedicated to ending cannabis prohibition for all, but especially veterans. The purpose of the organization is to work with veteran leaders around the nation to advocate, organize, and educate on behalf of veterans and all patients of cannabis treatment.
What About CBD for Veterans?
Cannabidiol (CBD) is the naturally occurring compound found in the flower of cannabis. CBD is currently thought to be a safe and non-addictive substance. The difference between CBD and THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) is that CBD is non-intoxicating, unlike THC. THC is the compound in cannabis that makes a person feel “high” or “stoned” while using marijuana.
VA clinicians are not allowed to prescribe any products containing THC, CBD, or any other cannabinoids. However, research has suggested CBD can help with PTSD symptoms.
The FDA and National Center for Health Research have both concluded that there is not enough evidence to say with certainty that CBD is 100% safe. The World Health Organization has also published a report on CBD.
High THC use may be connected to long-term negative psychiatric effects. This is especially true for adolescents who consume large amounts of THC. However, there is no conclusive evidence that cannabis causes schizophrenia or other psychiatric disorders.
Marijuana vs. Opioids
Veterans who suffer from PTSD have a greater risk of turning to alcohol and/or opioids to manage symptoms. Opioids are highly addictive and can cause a fatal overdose. Cannabis is a safer alternative because it greatly reduces the chance of dependence and eliminates the risk of fatal overdose compared to opioid-based medications. Also, a study found that medical cannabis patients reported that cannabis was just as effective, if not more, than opioid-based medications for pain.
Is Marijuana More Effective than Other PTSD Medications?
There is not a definite answer to this question because medications and cannabis can affect everyone differently. If standard PTSD medications work for you and do not cause any problems, keep following the medical advice from your doctor. If marijuana helps your PTSD symptoms more than standard medications, talk to your doctor. We aren’t medical experts. We’re here to help veterans get their VA disability benefits, not to give medical advice.
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How Can a VA Benefits Attorney Help Me?
If you have been wrongly denied VA disability benefits because of marijuana use, call us today at 866-232-5777, and we can help you. We have helped thousands of veterans get the benefits they deserve. You will not pay us unless we win your appeal, see if we can help by reaching out today.
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Veterans will not be denied VA benefits for their marijuana use. Talk to your doctor and follow their medical advice.
It is possible to receive a willful finding if a veteran’s marijuana use causes an injury, disease, or death. A veteran using drugs recreationally might be considered willful misconduct if the veteran is recreationally using drugs. However, the VA may find that marijuana use is related to trying to cope with PTSD or other conditions.