Updated on January 30, 2019.
Medical content reviewed by Dr. Joseph Rosado, MD, M.B.A, Chief Medical Officer
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed off on adding Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) to the list of qualifying conditions for the legal use of medical marijuana in the state on Saturday, November 11, 2017 — a statement made in honor of Veterans Day.
PTSD is a severe condition that usually develops after a person experiences a traumatic event or series of events, such as war, domestic abuse, accidents or other crimes. Its symptoms include experiencing flashbacks, insomnia, nightmares, numbing, anger, night sweats, traumatic stressors and avoidance.
“Many of our veterans are suffering from PTSD, and the medical community has determined that marijuana can be a helpful treatment,” the Democratic governor said. “If there are veterans that are suffering, and we can make a treatment available, we want to.”
State Sen. Diane Savino (D-Staten Island), the writer of the bill, agreed with Cuomo’s statements.
“New York is home to some of the bravest service members in the nation, in addition to residents suffering from PTSD due to other traumatic experiences,” she said in a statement. “This legislation will ensure that everyone receives the effective treatment they deserve.”
The Details of NY State Senate Bill S5629
With the passing of NY State Senate Bill S5629, veterans who live in New York can now seek approval from a doctor to treat their symptoms with non-smokable forms of cannabis, just like residents with nearly 20 other conditions and symptoms already can.
In May, the Assembly passed the bill 131-8, and the Senate followed suit in June 50-13. Toward the end of March, the New York Department of Health added chronic pain to the list of conditions as well. They also gave five additional companies operator licensing in August and opened up a discussion about providing more products, such as:
Cuomo signed this order during the Veteran’s Day parade on Saturday, along with:
A bill waiving the fee for the civil service examination for honorably discharged veterans
A program giving state-employed veterans more paid leave for health services, counseling appointments and other benefits
An order to honor veterans who have not yet returned home with a POW/MIA chair and plaque in the State Capitol building
Announcing a program allowing veterans to purchase and use license plates showing they served in the Marines, Army, Air Force, Navy or Coast Guard
What This Means for Residents of New York
With the addition of PTSD to New York’s list of designated conditions, the state becomes the 28th in the country to allow people with the condition to use medical cannabis. Almost every state with a medical cannabis program now includes PTSD.
According to Cuomo, the bill could allow medical cannabis to help as many as 19,000 New Yorkers who have PTSD. Among that group are police officers, veterans and survivors or witnesses to domestic violence, accidents or other crimes. He said the goal of this legislation is to give veterans the opportunity to succeed upon returning home and other residents struggling with PTSD the chance to treat their symptoms — and eventually to recover.
Rep. Richard Gottfried, chairman of the Assembly Health Committee and sponsor of the chamber’s version of the measure, said the announcement is “another welcoming step in the expanding and strengthening” of the state’s medical marijuana program. The program had approximately 35,318 registered patients and 1,312 registered medical professionals enrolled as of November 7, according to the state’s health department.
Approximately seven to eight percent of veterans experience PTSD at some point after their service, according to the Federal Department of Veterans Affairs. The American Legion found about 82 percent of surveyed veterans would like to have medical cannabis as an option for treating their PTSD.
Use MarijuanaDoctors.com to Treat Your PTSD in New York State
Have you been diagnosed with PTSD, or are you beginning to experience side effects of the condition? Are your symptoms starting to become unmanageable even when you take your medications? Medical cannabis could be the answer. Use our search engine to find a reputable, licensed medical professional in New York state to speak with about treating your symptoms with medical marijuana.