A panel of lawmakers voted on Wednesday to add post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) to the Colorado medical marijuana program. The vote will not have a legal effect but it will act as a recommendation to the full legislature who begin work again in January. The vote shows a change in attitude for the state. In the past, the Colorado Board of Health has previously rejected 4 other applications to add PTSD to the list of qualifying disorders for the Colorado medical marijuana program. They claimed that there was not enough research to proving benefits for PTSD patients. Attitudes in the state are now changing as many patients and physicians have advocated for its use in treating the disorder. Should the change occur, Colorado would be the 19th state to qualify PTSD for the program.
Hope for PTSD Sufferers
PTSD was added to New Jersey’s medical marijuana program last week and voters in Montana are deciding on the issue in November. As attitudes continue to change on the subject, hope becomes available to sufferers of the debilitating condition.
“Cannabis treats all the multiple issues that are going on with PTSD like no other drug,” says Joseph Cohen, a doctor who testified to the panel. Cohen is one of the doctors in the state who recommends the herb to patients and believes it should be part of the Colorado medical marijuana program. Approximately 100,000 patients are registered with Colorado’s current program. It’s unknown how many more will be added if legislature approves PTSD as a qualifying condition next year.
Research into Medical Marijuana as a PTSD Treatment
Debbie Wagner, a lobbyist speaking on behalf of the Colorado Medical Society and Colorado Psychiatric Society, spoke to the panel on Wednesday, stating that there is not enough research to conclusively consider marijuana for PTSD treatment. The further proof demanded seems like it will be provided to the organizations soon as Colorado is pioneering a $2 million study of marijuana as a possible treatment for PTSD. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration has approved the study. The study isn’t complete yet but it includes studying 76 military veterans.
Colorado Medical Marijuana Qualifiers
The current qualifying conditions for the Colorado medical marijuana program includes cachexia, cancer, chronic pain, chronic nervous system disorders, glaucoma, HIV or AIDS, nausea, persistent muscle spasms, and seizures. Patients can possess up to 2 ounces of the herb and grow up to 6 plants with only up to 3 mature plants at any given time.
Colorado legalized recreational marijuana in 2012, which means technically people don’t need a doctor’s recommendation to purchase and consume marijuana but the medical program still exists and benefits do apply for patients registered in the program. Medical marijuana patients can possess a larger quantity of marijuana than recreational users who can possess up to 1 ounce. Medical patients can be younger than the age of 21, which may be applicable for younger military soldiers dealing with trauma. A lot less tax is charged on medical marijuana sales than recreational marijuana. For these reasons, it important for doctors and patients alike, that PTSD be added to the program as a qualifying condition.