EXCLUSIVE: New information released to Cannabiz has reignited the debate regarding the Department of Veterans’ Affairs’ (DVA) decision to reject medicinal cannabis as a viable treatment option for post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Earlier this year, Iraq War veteran Derek Pyrah asked the DVA to subsidise the cost of his prescribed medicinal cannabis but the department rejected the request on the basis that there was “insufficient high-quality evidence” supporting medicinal cannabis as a treatment for PTSD.

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Military veteran Derek Pyrah: twice refused access to subsidised medicinal cannabis by the DVA

His GP, Dr Matty Moore, appealed the decision but was unsuccessful.

As a result of Pyrah’s plight – and that of many others in a similar position – Australian Medicinal Cannabis Association (AMCA) chair Lucy Haslam convened a roundtable of experts and advocates to fight for subsidised veteran access to medicinal cannabis.

A change.org campaign was launched to draw attention to the issue and called on the DVA to subsidise the cost of medicinal cannabis for veterans living with PTSD. It has been signed by more than 15,000 people.

Such pleas have so far been rejected by the DVA, with the organisation’s website insisting it will decline any application for the funding of medicinal cannabis to treat mental health conditions.

However, this policy position would appear to be contradicted by new information released to Cannabiz via Freedom of Information requests.

It shows that, as of May 12 2021, the DVA had approved medicinal cannabis funding requests for 691 veterans, at a total cost of just over A$2.5 million.

Rhys Cohen

As well as being editor-at-large at Cannabiz, Rhys is the director of Cannabis Consulting Australia, which provides commercial consulting services to various domestic and international cannabis companies....