Category: Medical Marijuana
| Posted on Mon, June, 9th 2014 by THCFinder
Phoenix, AZ – After years of hard-fought efforts a coalition of patients, medical professionals, and advocates succeeded in demonstrating the medical safety and efficacy of marijuana for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), according to the Administrative Law Judge who heard the case. The Arizona Dept. of Health has denied all petitions submitted previously.
On Wednesday, June 4, 2014 Judge Thomas Shedden issued his ruling saying that “a preponderance of evidence shows medical marijuana provides palliative benefit to those suffering from PTSD.” The decision is now in the hands of Will Humble, Director of Arizona Dept. of Health Services; Humble has until July 9th, 2014 to accept or appeal Judge Shedden’s decision.
The Drug Policy Alliance’s Freedom to Choose campaign, which advocates for veterans’ access to medical marijuana contributed a compilation of published studies and personal testimony from psychiatrists in New Mexico and veterans who use medical marijuana to alleviate symptoms of PTSD. “The pioneering effort to add post-traumatic stress to New Mexico’s medical cannabis program in 2009, and the work that veterans and advocates did to protect PTSD as part of the program in 2012, has led to this swell of support around the nation,” says Jessica Gelay, Policy Coordinator, in the New Mexico office of the Drug Policy Alliance. “Veterans and all people who have suffered from serious trauma and violence deserve the freedom to choose the safest treatment for their debilitating conditions. When our veterans come home they deserve access to the medicine that works for them.”
Arizona’s veteran population is 530,693, ranking it thirteenth among states with the largest veterans’ populations. Emerging evidence from on-going studies in Israel, supported by the Israeli government, show that marijuana is effective for combat veterans experiencing symptoms of PTSD that are treatment resistant.
Veterans like Ricardo Pereyda of Tucson, who fought in combat in Operation Iraqi Freedom 2 and testified in the hearing are elated. “Being able to treat multiple symptoms from post-traumatic stress with cannabis has been instrumental in my ability to lead a full and productive life,” said Pereyda, “Judge Shedden showed that politics does not have to trump science, and doing so showed his compassion for combat veterans and others who have suffered from traumatic events.” Pereyda served in the U.S. Army and Military Police Corps.
“Cannabis medicine is natural, gentle, non-toxic, and should be available to PTSD sufferers in Arizona,” said Heather Manus, president of the Arizona Cannabis Nurses Association. “Many PTSD patients in neighboring states are successfully finding relief of symptoms through the use of cannabis.” The AZCNA filed the petition with the Arizona Department of Health Services on behalf of veterans and other PTSD sufferers to add PTSD as a debilitating condition under the state’s medical marijuana law. “This ruling could help a lot of Arizonans. Not just combat veterans, but people with chronic illness and pain who can’t find relief from other medications.”
The judicial ruling in Arizona puts it on the road to becoming the twelfth state to permit people suffering from PTSD to legally access medical marijuana. In fewer than twelve months four states (OR, ME, MI, NV) added PSTD to their medical marijuana programs. With Arizona coming on board people in twelve of the twenty-two states with medical marijuana laws would have legal access if they suffer from PTSD.