Marijuana May Be Helpful, VA Chief Says

“There may be some evidence that this is beginning to be helpful, and we’re interested in looking at that,” Dr. Shulkin told reporters at the White House when asked about medical marijuana.

Federal law prohibits the agency’s doctors from prescribing medical marijuana, he said. Top officials from the American Legion, an advocacy group for veterans, urged the Trump administration last week to reclassify marijuana and allow research into whether cannabis could reduce suicides among troops and help veterans dealing with PTSD.

“But until time that federal law changes, we are not able to be able to prescribe medical marijuana” for conditions where it may be helpful, said Dr. Shulkin.

The first nonveteran to head the sprawling department, Dr. Shulkin spoke to reporters in what he billed as his first “state of the VA.” He said his top clinical priority was preventing veteran suicides, which now average about 20 per day.

Write to Michael C. Bender at

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