Information for Doctors

Attention Veteran Patients & Doctors - The Michigan VA Medical Center Director has stated the following:

"The Office of the General Counsel has determined that no VA physician shall complete any forms for the Sate of Michigan for medical marijuana. However, for patients whose treatment plan from a non-VA physician includes use of medical marijuana, presence of marijuana in a urine drug screen is acceptable."

- Excerpt from a letter written by Suzanne Klinker, Battle Creek VA Medical Center Director (Click here to see the full letter)

Doctors in Michigan:

  • The American Academy of Cannabinoid Medicine Website
  • "Physicians should use the same standard of care in recommending medical marijuana to patients as they would when recommending or approving any other medication.”

    — Dr. Frank Lucido, M.D

  • The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Conant v. Walters, 309 F.3d 629, 2002 that doctors may discuss and recommend medical marijuana with their patients. Doctors may not assist patients in acquiring medical marijuana.
  • The Michigan Medical Marijuana Act protects doctors from legal or civil sanction by state professional and licensing boards and bureaus for recommending medical marijuana to their patients (Michigan Medical Marijuana Act Sec 4(f)).
  • Medical marijuana recommendations must be signed by an M.D. or D.O. Other medical professionals in Michigan may not recommend medical marijuana.

Veterans Prescription Drug Abuse + 43% active-duty vets Binge Drinking. 2009 Research.

Rather than the heroin addictions many Vietnam veterans brought back with them from Southeast Asia, however, today's returning soldiers are more likely to be addicted to prescription medications -- the very opiates prescribed to them by the military to ease stress or pain -- or stimulants used by soldiers to remain alert in combat situations.

"I think there's a lot more [soldiers addicted to] pharmacological opiates than the data show," said John A. Renner Jr., M.D., associate professor of psychiatry at the Boston University School of Medicine and associate chief of psychiatry at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Boston Healthcare System. "A lot of them were using opiates before they went, and a lot are reporting that opiates are freely available in combat areas."

Nora Volkow, M.D., director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), noted that while many soldiers receive prescription opiates for traumatic injuries and pain, the drugs also are effective in relieving stress. "So, even if you don't take it for that, it will work," she said.

Prescription drug abuse may be a top concern among conference participants, but experts noted that excessive drinking remains a huge problem among soldiers, sailors and airmen despite being banned from combat zones in Muslim countries.

Historically, substance abuse has "not only been present but fostered by the military," said keynote speaker Jim McDonough, a retired U.S. Army officer and former strategy director at the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy. "At Agincourt, the Somme and Waterloo, soldiers got liquored up before combat ... There's been almost no break in that [tradition] today."

In the U.S., "drinking heavily was part of military culture until the mid-1980s, when we had a series of reforms that just pushed it underground," said McDonough. "The Officer's Clubs closed, but that moved the drinking into the homes and private parties."
A recent study found that 43 percent of active-duty military personnel reported binge drinking within the past month, and researchers say that returning veterans of the Iraq and Afghan wars are at especially high risk of binge drinking and suffering alcohol-related harm.