Study of California Veterans Shows Marijuana Usage to Replace Other Drugs

A study published this past May in the American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse detailed a possible solution to a rampant problem. Researchers from the Department of Veterans Affairs, Harvard Medical School and the University of Pennsylvania surveyed 93 veterans. These vets received medical marijuana from the Santa Cruz Veterans Alliance in California and reported on their usage and the effects. What they discovered had long been suspected.

“This study confirms what we’ve been seeing on the ground for years now — coming up on a decade — which is that veterans are not only finding benefits from using cannabis medicinally, but are also using it to replace pharmaceutical drugs that they are being given by the V.A. that they find harmful or more dangerous,” said Seth Smith, Santa Cruz Veterans Alliance’s vice president of communications and public affairs.

A large majority of those surveyed – 79% – reported using marijuana to treat mental and physical health issues/symptoms. The most common symptom reported being chronic pain, followed closely by anxiety, PTSD, depression and insomnia. However, the main finding of the study came when asking if the vets used pot in place of any other substance or drug.

Almost 66% reported to using marijuana in place of another drug, most commonly prescription pills but including alcohol, tobacco, and illicit substances. The average usage rate was roughly four times daily.

The high frequency of usage can be a cause for some concern, however, the consequences are drastically less serious than the substances it is often replacing. As is true with many things, the study concludes by stating marijuana can do much good for the veteran community so long as abuse and dependency is managed.

If you or a loved one is in need of veterans affairs assistance, contact one of the many knowledgeable attorneys at Berry Law today.