Medical Marijuana: Veterans Administration Says Positive Marijuana Drug Screening Will Not Void Pain Contracts for Vets with Doctors' Recommendations

The Veterans Affairs watchdog group VA Watchdog reported last week that the VA will not remove veterans with medical marijuana recommendations who test positive for pot from its pain management programs. Just don't bring your medicine to a VA facility.

In recent years, vets who use marijuana medicinally have been thrown out of VA pain management programs as "drug abusers" after testing positive for marijuana. This policy shift will provide some solace, but only to those vets residing in states where medical marijuana is an option.

The VA has clarified its policy. While restating that it remains illegal to use or possess marijuana at VA facilities because of federal law, the agency will now accept medical marijuana use in states where it is legal:

"[I]t is acknowledged that testing positive for marijuana in a patient, based upon a random drug screening, will not serve as a breach of the current pain management agreement if the patient submits documentation in support of the marijuana being prescribed and dispensed in conformity with Michigan law," wrote Gabriel Perez, director of the Lutz Veterans Affairs Center in Saginaw, Michigan.

According to VA Watchdog, the policy appears to be the same in all states where medical marijuana is allowed under state law. But the VA has not released an official policy statement on the matter.

Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
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Medical marijuana and the VA



 The solution for me was to Keep firing doctors until I got one who would prescribe adaquate relief, DO NOT accept a foreign doctor - they do not like to prescribe narcs. I fired SEVEN before they got the message and always get all your records - I have mine from day one. I am now on Medicaid - The VA here sucks - If i had to go back i will fire my present doctor. Me and my Medicaid doctor have open discussions about MMJ - It's legal here on the state level and i have written the ACLU -= they will help - they are are already working on it. Anybody who does not like the ACLU  can Kiss my A--.



Things changing?

      I don't know if my experience is normal or not seeing as the last post was 9 months ago, but here you go.  I'm in the San Diego VA system and visit a smaller center for my treatment (not going to name them for their sake).  I outright asked my primary care doctor what would happen if I'm drug tested and caught vaporizing marijuana for pain, I admitted using.  While I couldn't get him to give me his personal opinion [federal agency] (though his explanation made him sound on our side), he told me roughly this "The VA doesn't care about Marijuana.  I don't care about it.  You won't be drug tested here, and if you are elsewhere in San Diego it doesn't matter if you come up positive.  We are even disregarding veterans who who have tested positive for heroin and meth."  From this point forward he would still prescribe me narcotics when I had pain, though I didn't really take them unless I was over the top.  And were talking 120 tablets (3 refills) at a time without even asking.

       Shortly after I saw my VA psychiatrist (used to be a general care doctor).  I asked him the same question and again admitted using.  He also told me that the VA doesn't care and that as long as it wasn't an addiction neither did he.  He also would not give me his opinion, but, he did say, "I can't tell you if you should or shouldn't use marijuana.  I can't tell you my personal opinion, but I will say this... In trying to relieve your pain and sleep I think Alcohol and narcotics are bad for you, especially alcohol...., especially alcohol."  he then coughed suggestively  and said  "again, I'm not giving you my opinion but as a doctor I don't care if you use marijuana for pain and sleep.  But I do not want us using alcohol and long term sleeping pills and narcotics..., take that for what you will."

      I hope the rest of you are starting to see this as well.  The VA is finally beginning to accept us thanks to strong public pressure and strong willed outspoken veterans.  Good job everyone!  Next goal is to get the VA to openly allow marijuana, regardless of your state's legal status or if you have a marijuana card or not (paranoid).

Q;Between their ears?hint-its sticky it's wet and it's brown

A "mule" or "donkey" is the term they prefer to use for the symbol of a certain political party but it should be the  symbol for ALL politicians in Washington DC. I like the term JACKASS ! It's so much more appropriate because it's a perfect match. When I see any politician on tv I see a jackass with a suit and tie. Like the old saying goes "If the shoe fits WEAR IT. I honestly believe they actually assume the public still believes their BS. and do not see them for the compulsive liars they are. Is it possible for a human being to have the ability to even speak and be that stupid ? I think somebody up north prefers to accept the white stuff over the green $tuff to do exactly the fuck what the paymaster south of the border pays them to do. Nothing. When I see one on tv it makes me LMFAO. They don't have a clue just how stupid they look.

The Scary Part

What's scary is the lack of across-the-board procedures from one VA to the other.  The doctors are pretty much individually deciding what they want and not what the VA should be dictating as policy in pain management.  If you have a doctor who maintains liberal views of medical marijuana use, they opt to disregard marijuana use.  On the other hand, one with more conservative views could deny opiate or other pain medication management, stop prescriptions, and provide a referral for drug counseling.

In the case of testing, a policy should also be established which should be used by all VA care clinics providing pain management.  Things to consider....random or once a year testing with established guidelines for testing , if a person is on opiods etc to NOT tag them with a positive opiod test in the case of prescribed medication, pre-pain management counseling regarding use/abuse/non-use of prescribed pain meds, to NOT test for alcohol or ethanol or metabolic facets thereof, to temporarily issue a mandate to NOT test for marijuana use in any patients at any VA facilities, to NOT recommend a referral for drug treatment for marijuana use unless it is deemed the use caused a medical emergency or the veteran is requesting treatment.

Veterans should be able to expect standardized procedures when obtaining pain management medications....and NOT have to be treated like a second class citizen who is likely suspected of illegal drug use until cleared by a detailed urine drug test.

Until standard procedures are established, all drug testing should be ceased and any records in veterans medical files expunged until approved standards are established.






VA has to get consent for

VA has to get consent for drug


9VHA HANDBOOK 1004.01 August 14, 2009

consent. Both oral informed consent and signature consent must be documented in the patient’s electronic health record. In accordance with VHA policy on documentation of patient records, documentation must be sufficient to serve as a basis to plan patient care, support diagnoses, and warrant treatment (see VHA Handbook 1907.01). In most cases, a brief statement such as “patient consented to treatment plan” is sufficient for these purposes.

  1. For tests that provide information that is particularly sensitive or may have significant consequences for the patient, as discussed in subparagraph 13a(1), the patient's oral consent to each test must be explicitly documented. NOTE: If specific consent is not obtained or documented, and the patient subsequently objects to the test, the patient must be notified of the patient's right to request that information pertaining to the test be expunged from the patient's electronic health record, consistent with VHA Handbook 1907.01.



6August 14, 2009 VHA HANDBOOK 1004.01

(a) For treatments and procedures that are low risk and are within broadly-accepted standards of medical practice, it is sufficient to obtain oral consent for the entire treatment or procedure without explicitly discussing each of its component elements; for example, a practitioner may obtain consent for a panel of routine blood tests without explicitly discussing that the panel includes tests for sodium, potassium, and chloride.

(b) Information about certain tests must be considered “information that a patient in similar circumstances would reasonably want to know” because these tests are particularly sensitive and may have consequences that the patient might reasonably want to avoid. These tests include, but are not limited to, specific tests to identify illicit drug use, alcohol intoxication, HIV, Hepatitis C, Hepatitis B, Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA), sexually-transmitted diseases, and inheritable genetic abnormalities. For these tests, practitioners must obtain specific consent and follow the informed consent process as outlined in the remainder of this paragraph. Signature consent is not required; oral consent is sufficient and must be documented in the patient's electronic health record (see subpar. 13c(1)).


When you research this you will find that consent is time limited (30 to 60 days) and ref's to US Code

Interesting analysis . I was

Interesting analysis . I was fascinated by the facts , Does someone know if my company might be able to locate a blank DoL EE-2 copy to fill out ?

policy makers have no feelings towards Veterans

When it comes to pain, no one knows it like us vet's who received injuries while on active duty.  The VA only cares about reducing pain medicaiton to those who really need it just to make them look good.  Those making policy decisons concerning pain medicaitons are not aware of the suffering many of us are going through.  WHY they don't let us Vets who experience pain levels of 10, help write these policies is beyond me, expect they really do not give a damn.  If POT can help relieve the pain and suffering us vets go through because of injureis we received while on active duty, then let it be allowed.  Only reason I can see why the VA is not doing everythng possible to redieve us vets from extreme pain is, They NO LONGER put veterans first. I am 100% Service Connected totally disabled veteran.


THOSE making these policies do not know the pain and suffering we veterans go though.  Those of us who were injuried while on active duty, suffer more than we need to because of those making policy decisions within the VA.  They only are concerned with drawing a paycheck while at the same time ignoring the cries of us veterans who are suffering because of injuries we received while on active duty.  I was recently hospitalized and the VA doctor refused to give me pain medicaiton because of what he stated was "VA POLICY".  I had to reort to obtaining pain medicaiton by other means.  The VA is proving that it NO LONGER puts the veterans first.  I feel, that if we veterans have to resort to POT for relief from our service connected pains, then  so be it.  It is obvious that the VA really does not give a damn.  FIGHT BACK VETERANS.  Write you congressman and the Preident as often as you can.  WRITE arttiles for your local paper.  Tell you family and friends to write letters also.  I have suffered with severe pain since I received my injuries back in 1974.  I am 100% Service Connected totally disabled veteran.

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