If Marijuana Prevents PTSD, Why Is It Not a Qualifying Condition?
Posted by Marijuana Doctors on 11/08/2011 in Medical Marijuana Conditions
When it comes to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), veterans report that cannabis is the number one effective drug for PTSD. Dr. Leveque, a pioneering marijuana doctor in Oregon, learned about how effective cannabis is PTSD for by treating nearly 1000 veterans from Vietnam, Desert Storm, and WWII. All of the Veterans that Dr. Leveque saw reported the same thing: nothing was as effective for their PTSD as medical marijuana.
But the proof that medical marijuana helps PTSD isn’t purely anecdotal. A 2009 study published in the Journal of Neuroscience found the use of cannabinoids may help in the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder patients. Not only is it an effective relaxant, but it also prevents increased release of the hormone that the body produces in response to stress. And a new 2011 study published in the same journal found that not only does it help with PTSD, but it may actually prevent PTSD symptoms altogether.
Yet regardless of these findings, it’s actually next to impossible to get medical marijuana for PTSD in America. Currently, New Mexico is the only state that explicitly names PTSD as a qualifying condition, though it does also qualify in California due to the very liberal CA medical marijuana law.
In Dr. Leveque’s case, he was able to get around the fact that Oregon medical marijuana law does not include PTSD as a qualifying condition because most of his patients had other conditions that qualify them for it that cannabis can also help with, and many of them were already prescribed morphine and other narcotics for chronic pain from battle wounds or shrapnel. So medical marijuana was an effective alternative pain medication that also happened to effectively treat their PTSD.
For those unfamiliar with PTSD, it’s an anxiety disorder that can develop after exposure to a terrifying event or ordeal in which grave physical harm occurred or was threatened. It causes many symptoms, including flashbacks, nightmares, social avoidance, hyper-arousal symptoms, and feelings of guilt, fear, depression or worry. It’s a life-altering condition that approximately 7 – 8% of people in the United States will likely develop in their lifetime. According to a 2008 Rand Corporation study, PTSD affects nearly 20% of veterans returning home from Iraq and Afghanistan.
Most marijuana states allow patients to petition additional medical conditions to their qualifying lists for cannabis, however one such attempt sadly failed in Colorado. But at the end of the day, by not including PTSD as a qualifying medical condition for cannabis, we are essentially failing our troops and others who have suffered traumatic experiences.