Top 8 Questions about Cannabis and VA benefits

We get a lot of questions about how the use of THC can effect your VA benefits. We asked our legal advisor and several members to share their experiences, this article does not constitute legal or medical advice.

1. Does the VA Drug Test?

Will the VA screen me for marijuana use? As part of healthcare at the Veterans Administration, routine blood or urine tests may indicate to your provider that you use marijuana. However, there is no indication that the VA screens for drug use for any reason other than diagnosis and treatment. They may also use drug testing to ensure your prescribed medications are being taken properly. This kind of testing can be used to

If your provider identifies any potential problems, they may advise you about the potential for interactions between cannabis and prescription medication. Many people have replaced pills with pot, but do not discontinue the use of any prescription medication without speaking to your healthcare provider.

2. Are VA Benefits affected by marijuana use?

Cannabis remains a Schedule One Controlled Substance by the federal government. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs abides by federal laws, including those about marijuana. For this reason, your VA doctor or healthcare provider cannot prescribe or recommend cannabis for veterans.

The good news is that if a veteran participates in a state marijuana program, it won’t affect eligibility for services from the VA. We’ve heard that some providers are encouraged to discuss marijuana use with patients to aid in providing proper care.

3. Can my VA doctor prescribe weed?

We believe cannabis should be as easy to access as prescription drugs. It should also be covered by insurance. There are multiple proposals in the House and Senate that would expand research into cannabis for vets, but as of 2022, your VA provider can not provide a recommendation to obtain a state cannabis card.

4. What will happen if the VA finds THC in my urine?

Though kept confidential under healthcare privacy law, your use of marijuana will likely be recorded in your medical record for use in planning and providing treatment.

5. Can I get weed or CBD from the VA or VA pharmacy?

The federal government still classifies marijuana as a schedule 1 narcotic, so federally-funding pharmacies do not fill prescriptions for medical marijuana.

6. Will the VA pay for medical marijuana?

We think cannabis should be free for all veterans, but as of 2022 there’s not indication the VA will every pay for marijuana.

7. Can VA help me get my medical marijuana card?

Your VA provider can not provide a recommendation to obtain a state cannabis card.

It is theoretically possible to receive a willful misconduct finding from recreational marijuana use if it directly causes an injury, disease, or death. However, if the service member was using cannabis to cope with PTSD or other conditions, the condition would be eligible for a VA rating and compensation.

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