PTSD and Depression Denied as Qualifying Conditions for Medical Marijuana in Arizona

The Arizona Department of Health Services again denied adding PTSD, depression, and migraines to the list of medical conditions that qualify people for a medical-marijuana card.

DHS Director Will Humble wrote on his blog that he "didn't approve the petitions because of the lack of published data regarding the risks and benefits of using Cannabis to treat or provide relief for the petitioned conditions."

See also:
-Top Five Reasons Why PTSD Should be a Qualifying Ailment

As part of the state's Medical Marijuana Act, people can periodically petition to get new conditions to the list of qualifying ailments, but they don't make the list just by having a lot of public support.

DHS has had the University of Arizona's College of Public Health analyze the available scientific studies regarding medical-marijuana treatments for the disorders, and pass that information back to DHS.

Unfortunately for everyone involved, the medical advisory panel at DHS said there was no evidence to support adding the conditions, because "marijuana has not been subjected to any high quality, scientifically controlled testing in humans for any of the petitioned conditions . . . "

Without the evidence, neither the panel nor the DHS director were in favor of adding the conditions to the list -- which was also the result the first time these ailments were proposed for the medical-marijuana program.

The panel's letter said it might review the petitions if new study results become available.

"During the discussion, the Committee expressed that the growing body of evidence concerning the basic science of the potential effects of cannabinoids on PTSD patient[s] raised valid clinical questions that need to be investigated," the letter says. "Given this evidence and that several states have Medical Marijuana provisions for PTSD patients, it is hoped that a randomized, controlled trial may be conducted to further investigate this question."

The panel also opined that sufferers of migraines might be able to qualify for a medical-marijuana card based on chronic pain already being a qualifying condition.

Petitions to add conditions to the medical-marijuana list will be accepted again from January 27 to 31.

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Matthew Hendley
Contact: Matthew Hendley