PTSD Now Qualifies for MMJ in Colorado
After months of advocacy by patients and medical professionals, Colorado has now added post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) to its list of qualifying conditions for the state’s medical cannabis program.
On Monday, governor John Hickenlooper made Senate Bill 17 official with his signature. In one week, patients suffering from PTSD can now be recommended medical cannabis with a physician’s authorization. Dr. Larry Wolk, executive director of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, said the one week delay is simply to allow time for the department to update its medical forms.
The list of qualifying conditions has not been updated since 2001, when the state legalized medical cannabis, the reason being the absence of, “peer-reviewed published studies of randomized controlled trials or well-designed observational studies showing efficacy in humans,” according to previous comments made by officials. The list also includes AIDS, HIV, cachexia, cancer, persistent muscle spasms, seizures, severe nausea, and severe pain. Supporters of the bill included veterans as well as survivors of trauma and abuse.
Colorado’s list of qualifying conditions is rather perfunctory compared to other states, 23 of which already include PTSD in their medical cannabis programs. Multiple veterans organizations have been advocating nationwide for medical cannabis to treat PTSD. As a federal program, the Veteran’s Administration’s policy is to adhere to federal law, and therefore is subject to ongoing cannabis prohibition. As the majority of veterans utilize their VA healthcare benefits, medical cannabis treatments are not only prohibited but can potentially disqualify a veteran from future VA benefits if they use cannabis.