Marijuana now valid for palliative care of PTSD in Arizona

med-marijuanaOn Wednesday, Arizona Department of Health Services director Will Humble issued a Director’s Decision that will authorize the use of marijuana for patients with a diagnosis of PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) that are currently undergoing conventional treatment.

According to Humble, physician certifications would not be valid for treatment, but would be valid for palliative care of PTSD symptoms.

Certifying physicians will be required to attest that they have reviewed evidence documenting that the patient is currently undergoing conventional treatment for PTSD before signing the medical marijuana certification, advises Humble.

Last December, Humbled denied a petition to add PTSD to the list of debilitating medical conditions that qualify people for an Arizona Medical Marijuana Registration Card. Humble wrote on his blog on Wednesday, “I denied the petition because, at the time, I believed there was a lack of scientific evidence to document whether Cannabis is helpful or not to treat or provide palliative care for PTSD.”

Humble had until July 9 to either accept, reject or modify a finding by an Arizona administrative law judge that Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) should be considered a medical conditions for which marijuana may be prescribed.

Humble had relied on a report by the UA Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health, which found: “There is a high degree of certainty of this association but it is not possible to determine if PTSD causes alcohol and other substance use, the reverse, or if both are associated with another condition. The evidence regarding the effects of using marijuana or other cannabinoids to treat the symptoms of PTSD in humans should be considered very low quality with a high degree of uncertainty.”

Humble accepted the Administrative Judge’s decision because the “information presented by the Petitioners at the hearing and the subsequent published study provided evidence that marijuana may be helpful in the palliative care of PTSD in some patients.”

Humble has set January 1, 2015 as the implementation date of this decision, in order to a few months for certifying physicians, dispensary medical directors, and dispensary agents to develop policies and procedures and educational materials required by ADHS rules.

Related articles:

Medical marijuana for PTSD decision could be appealed

7 Comments

  1. the PTSD diagnosis – does it come with other baggage – like loss of 2nd amendment rights ? Further constraints of employment ?

    • An excellent point I’ve been discussing with friends and family for some time now. Of course if you have a government issued pot card you’ll be tracked to the nth degree and when the DC dolts figure out how to cross reference gun permits and pot cards the gun owner/pot user will get a visit from some Nazi and be required to surrender any and all weapons. Think it can’t happen? This is now Obama’s socialist empire and anything’s possible.

  2. About five years ago, I read an interesting article about doctors prescribing methamphetamines for soldiers returning from the Korean War who were suffering from symptoms which were PTSD, but not identified by that acronymic handle. Not too much later, the doctors realized the addictive effects of methamphetamines and ceased to prescribe it. A member of my family who did several tours in Afghanistan and returned was prescribed Vicadin for PTSD which is highly addictive. I’ve concluded that the medical community has no idea what to do about PTSD and with every war of the 20th and 21st centuries, they’ve just thrown pills at the soldiers who need help. So now they’ll try marijuana for the treatment of PTSD because doctors don’t know what else to do. I’m not comfortable with our brave veterans being used as medical guinea pigs.

    • The way to treat PTSD is to find a way to help him or her face down the traumatic incident. All drugs do is delay that process.

      There’s no one way to face it. It depends on the situation and personality of the patient. I read of one classic case where doctor hypnotized the patient and led him through the stress incident but without emotion, like he was watching a movie about someone else. Then the doctor woke him up still remembering the session. This patient, then having “gone through it” without the stress was able to keep and hold that memory and use it to reduce stress when triggers occurred.

      But methods like that take too much work and thought, I guess. It’s easier to write out a prescription.

  3. war is hell – or at least a pretty caustic place when its all around you – do bad memories make you any more or less capable of dealing with stress or life – I don’t believe so – stuff happens

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