On 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.