Pot and PTSD
Posted by Marijuana Doctors on 01/07/2011 in Medical Marijuana Conditions
Many patients claim that marijuana is an effective way to alleviate post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), including Kevin Grimsinger, an Army veteran who suffers from the disorder and who lost his legs after stepping on a land mine in 2001 in Afghanistan. Grimsinger recently filed a petition to include PTSD as a qualifying condition to use medical marijuana in Colorado.
PTSD is 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, hyperarousal 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.
Of all of the 14 medical marijuana states, 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 marijuanalaw. And if Grimsinger’s petition passes, Colorado would be the next state to allow marijuana use for the treatment of the disorder.
Ned Calonge, Colorado’s chief medical officer, will review Grimsinger’s petition and has 180 days to decide whether it warrants a public hearing before the state Board of Health. Once the Board approves the petition, patients suffering from PSTD will be able to use medical marijuana under Colorado state law.
The Board of Health has denied petitions for Parkinson’s disease, anxiety, asthma and bipolar disorder in the past because of a lack of a scientific basis. But since there are countless veterans and others suffering from PTSD that find that cannabis helps alleviate their symptoms, we’re crossing our fingers in hopes that PTSD patients in Colorado get legal access to the medicine they need.