When Colorado voters approved medical marijuana in 2000, there were nine qualifying medical conditions identified that allow doctors to legally prescribe medicinal cannabis. These include cancer, cachexia, epilepsy, glaucoma, HIV, Multiple Sclerosis, muscle spasms, severe chronic pain, and severe nausea. Marijuana for PTSD is emerging as a amazing form of medicine.
Marijuana for PTSD
However, long-time advocates of cannabis have touted its potential to treat a variety of psychological ailments, such as anxiety and depression, which weren’t included in the conditions approved by voters. This has led to the most recent case filed in Colorado courts, asking that post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) be on the list of qualifying ailments.
What is PTSD?
While the symptoms of PTSD have been documented in cultures around the world for thousands of years, the American Psychological Association (APA) added PTSD to the formal list of psychological disorders in 1980. This was largely done to help identify the behavioral changes seen in veterans returning from the Vietnam War. Technically classified as an anxiety disorder, those afflicted relive a traumatic event (or series of traumatic events) through flashbacks or nightmares, and are easily triggered by outside stimuli. As trauma became better understood, the diagnosis was expanded to include traumas beyond the literal battlefield, including child abuse, assault, and domestic violence.
The Western world typically treats PTSD with a two-prong approach: medication and talk therapy. The only drugs approved to treat PTSD by the FDA are Paxil and Zoloft, and clinical trials have not been able to show these drugs are more effective than placebos for PTSD.
What Colorado advocates want
Hoban & Feola, the legal team that filed with Colorado’s Court of Appeals, is representing five individuals (four of whom are veterans) to include PTSD in the list of approved conditions. It is argued that, without a specific inclusion for PTSD, many sufferers are inadvertently excluded from access to medicinal cannabis.
The ripple effect of this exclusion requires these individuals purchase recreational marijuana, which come with taxes, including a 2.5% state sales tax, a 10% state marijuana tax, and any local city or county taxes that have been regionally approved. A formal decision from the Colorado Court of Appeals is expected in September 2016.
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