Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Should be Qualifying Ailment for Medical Marijuana, Says Local Doctor

A local doctor of psychiatry and internal medicine plans to petition the state to allow post-traumatic-stress disorder as a qualifying ailment for marijuana under Proposition 203.

In a draft petition, (see below), Dr. Sue Sisley of St. Joseph's Hospital points out that some research shows pot is incredibly beneficial for people suffering from the condition, commonly known by its acronym, PTSD. Her paper implies that marijuana could reduce the number of suicides across the United States -- estimated to be hundreds each month -- believed to be related to PTSD.

Sisley tells us she's worried that an upcoming study she has planned on the PTSD and pot might languish because there's no legal way to continue treatment once the main study is finished.

The voter-approved Proposition 203 specifies numerous maladies that could qualify a person for legal pot use, including "chronic and severe pain."

But PTSD isn't covered.

Here's an excerpt from the draft petition, which Sisley still is working on:

To deny those with PTSD suffering from psychological trauma and terrifying flashbacks access to a natural herb that is scientifically proven to provide them with relief is simply outrageous.

By allowing PTSD to be treated with medical marijuana, physicians can help patients treat their condition with cannabis and assist the patient in using cannabis in a manner that is safe and most effective for the particular patient.

Physicians can be re-assured that there is an ample body of medical literature that supports the beneficial use of cannabinoids. Studies teach us that we have our own cannabinoid receptors in our internal cannabinoids, and these should be modulated as they are proven to reverse effects of stress and help with retention of aversive memories, promote neurogenesis, and can reduce nightmares, fear, anxiety, mood disorders and other PTSD symptoms.

In September, a similar petition in Colorado to allow the legal use of pot for PTSD patients was rejected by that state's health department.

Dr. Sisley says she plans on submitting the petition to the Arizona Department of Health today. If DHS doesn't approve the idea soon, she'll lobby the state Legislature to pass a law to the same effect, she says.

Allowing bona fide PTSD patients to use marijuana without being thrown in jail seems well within the spirit of Prop 203.

Hmm... Doctors versus politicians and state bureaucrats. It'll be interesting to see who wins out on petitions like these (you just know there will be others coming down the pike that make suggestions for even more qualifying ailments).

In other marijuana news today:

* The Medical Marijuana Association and people knowledgeable about the legal pot industry will hold a forum tonight at the Sheraton in downtown Phoenix starting at 5 p.m. We're not sure if there's a cost, but we encourage readers to be wary about paying for any information that's publicly available.

* The DHS still plans to release a draft of proposed rules regarding the implementation of Proposition 203 by this coming Friday. Some people want 203's rules to be strict, while others want loose regulation. Knowing that, we expect DHS' initial draft rules to piss off nearly everyone. Public hearings on the matter are coming up in February, with final rules expected by the end of March. By April, people will be able to begin submitting applications for medical marijuana cards.


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