PTSD Sufferers Should Be Able to Use Medical Marijuana in Arizona, Says Judge
Image: Shamil Kakirov via fotopedia
An administrative law judge this week ordered the state to allow PTSD sufferers to use medical marijuana, reversing a decision by the state health-services department.
Will Humble, director of the state DHS, wrote about Wednesday's decision by state Administrative Law Judge Thomas Shedden in his blog today.
"I have until July 9 to either accept, reject or modify the recommended decision," Humble wrote. "I'll be studying the report and will make a decision after analyzing the Decision and Order."
In January, Humble denied a petition to add Post Traumatic Stress Disorder to the list of debilitating medical conditions for the medical-marijuana program, citing a lack of evidence that it does any good for the ailment. He referenced a report by University of Arizona researchers released in December which reviewed the findings of six reports conducted by various groups of scientists between 2009 and 2013.
Only one of the six was deemed a "high-quality" report with an appropriate level of information. The paper, by the Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies in Health, concluded only that the evidence was limited. It also mentions that a 2009 study showed that synthetic cannabinoids -- man-made versions of the active ingredients found naturally in the marijuana plant -- helped PTSD sufferers quite a lot, as far as quieting their disturbing nightmares.
At a recent hearing held before Judge Shedden, "substantial evidence" was related showing that pot can help PTSD symptoms, the order states. Shedden says that state DHS officials had misinterpreted the state Medical Marijuana Act if they didn't think PTSD should be added as qualifying condition.
"Consequently, the Appellant's appeal is granted and that PTSD is added to the list of debilitating conditions for which marijuana may be dispensed," Shedden wrote.
However, as mentioned, Humble can appeal the decision.
We'll keep you posted as to whether Shedden's order sticks.
Got a tip? Send it to: Ray Stern.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss Phoenix New Times' biggest stories.