The relationship between cannabis use and U.S. military veterans has undergone significant changes over the years. In recent times, a notable increase in cannabis use among veterans has been observed. In 2014, 9% of U.S. veterans reported using cannabis in the past year. This number rose to 11.9% in 2019-2020, with over 20% of veterans aged 18-44 engaging in cannabis use. Various factors contribute to this trend, including increased risk associated with certain conditions and circumstances.
The controversy over the use of herbicides, particularly Agent Orange and its contaminant 2378-TCDD (2378-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin), during the Vietnam era, has been a focal point of discussion. The health problems associated with these herbicides and their impact on veterans have been a matter of ongoing debate.
Vietnam’s role in international drug trafficking is also noteworthy. The country is considered a major drug transit area and production nation, especially for Southeast Asian heroin. Additionally, the cultivation and use of cannabis and opium in Vietnam remain persistent issues.
The Vietnam War era witnessed distinct stages of drug use among servicemen, including a rise in marijuana use followed by the introduction of potent heroin in 1970. This era’s drug trends significantly affected U.S. servicemen, with a considerable number developing addictions during their service.
The legal status of marijuana in the United States has evolved, particularly with the introduction of medical marijuana laws (MMLs). These laws, however, create a policy gap with federal legislation, where marijuana remains classified as a Schedule I substance. This disparity affects veterans, who need to navigate the differing state and federal laws regarding marijuana use.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) provide information on the various methods of marijuana use, its effects, and the legal implications for veterans. This information is crucial for understanding the current landscape of marijuana use and legalization in the United States.
To know more about the use of marijuana among veterans and its implications, visit PTSD: National Center for PTSD, History of the Controversy Over the Use of Herbicides, and VA and Marijuana – What Veterans need to know.