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Helping People With PTSD Who Use Cannabis

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Add PTSD As A Qualifying Condition For Medical Marijuana

One reason I’m proud to be a Coloradan is that our state has one of the most effective medical marijuana laws in the country. Patients in Colorado derive great benefit from having safe and reliable access to top-quality medicine at reasonable prices.

But right now, a large number of Coloradans who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) — including many veterans who have served our country — do not qualify to become medical marijuana patients. It breaks my heart to see so many people who deserve legal access to marijuana being forced to find their medicine on the streets.

In order to fix this problem, activists filed a petition with the state of Colorado earlier this week to have PTSD added as a qualifying condition for medical marijuana. Although the state rejected a similar petition in the past, we need to continue to keep trying and let state officials know what we think — so that veterans and other people with this condition can find some relief.

Sign our online petition right now to add PTSD as a qualifying condition for medical marijuana. We’ll be sure to send all your online signatures and comments to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, the agency responsible for making this decision.

Of course, there is another way to help these patients. Amendment 64 would make the use of marijuana legal for all adults.

If we pass Amendment 64, it will no longer be necessary to “qualify” under state law to use marijuana. Instead, it would be sold throughout the state and would be available to anyone 21 years of age or older, whether they need it for medical reasons or not.

So a rejection of the petition, we believe, will only increase support for Amendment 64.

We are hoping that this fact will put pressure on the Department to add PTSD as a qualifying condition before the vote on Amendment 64 takes place this November. But until then, it’s crucial that you take a moment to sign our petition to the Department, which reads:

Please add PTSD as a qualifying condition for medical marijuana use in the state.

After you’ve signed the petition, please forward this email along to friends and family in Colorado who care about veterans, share it on Facebook, and post it on Twitter.

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19 Comments

  1. JosephineSchmo on

    I get the legalization of marijuana from the stand point of tax income, regulating for safer drugs etc. As a psychiatric practitioner though marijuana makes my job much more difficult. To put it simply, long term marijuana use gunks up neuroreceptors altering the way your brain processes medications. Luckily this is temporary if you stop. What is not temporary is the permanent decrease in naturally occurring serotonin for the rest of your life. When your brain is regularly flooded with an external means of serotonin it does not find it necessary to make its own and eventually will not make much. This results in depression and reliance on other substances to improve mood. There are many different way to treat PTSD including therapy such as EMDR and medications like prazosin which may actually alter the pathways the traumatic memory ingrains in the brain. Marijuana is just a band aid which may relieve acute stress and anxiety, but will not fix the PTSD. When someone is in so much anguish it is easiest for them to dull it with substances. This is okay sometimes in cases of panic attacks or suicidal ideation, but many find it difficult to stop just numbing the pain and start seeking permanent solutions to their issues. Addictive substances such as benzodiazepines are minimally recommended for the veteran population because of their high instance of co-occurring substance abuse. With this recommendation I don’t see much hope for approving a similar mood altering substance.  

  2. I have been there. I have PTSD and used to use pot to ease the symptoms. It helped with the sleepless nights, nightmares and hyperviligance.

    I was arrested for possession of pot it and now I have PTSD AND a police record.  

  3. That’s wild!  As progressive and enlightened as Colorado is with cannabis, I thought PTSD was a qualifying condition there. It is in NM. Good Luck on the petition and Prop 64.

  4. Melekalikimaka on

    Being a medical practitioner you should be made aware that there are different properties to each strain of cannabis. There is actually sophistication in the botany behind the growing of medical cannabis. Me, I am bi-polar AND have PTSD as well as degenerative disk disease, several herniated disks in my back and neck with resulting muscle spasms. I take some commercial pharmaceuticals for my mental illnesses and also use an average of a 70/30 Sativa dominant strain with Indica with heavy blue or purple properties about 3 times a day. This is great for daytime functioning and there are Indica dominant strains that I use at night that weigh heavy in the muscle relaxation department. My doctor and I researched, there is no evidence of drug interactions between the cannabis and the pharmaceuticals I take. The only bad interaction is that of the drugs for mental illness and commercial drugs for muscle relaxation and pain that I need for my back which I was not able to use. With the cannabis I generally obtain I get the pain relief and muscles relaxed with a generally clear head, enough that I can reformat a computer or balance my check book. I get to run my household without being exhausted from the constant pain. It is quite possible that the bad experiences you have had with your patients and cannabis is that they’re just using the wrong strain. This is why the legalization, so people know what they’re getting.

    I am doing everything I am supposed to do. I have healthy relationships, a physical therapy/exercise routine, healthy balanced diet and a great support system of friends and healthcare providers, and as stress free of an environment as possible. I have not had any debilitating incidents in my mental health for many, many years now.

    Please investigate this, cannabis was used for many ailments at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th century. In the Hand-Book Of Modern Treatment And Medical Formulary from 1916 there were around 1200 maladies that it was used for, Melancholia (manic depression) is one, Shell Shock (ptsd) another. Cannabis Science in Colorado Springs has been running trials of treating and very well be curing some forms of skin cancer. There are some good things happening with just a plant.

  5. Melekalikimaca on

    I would also like to add that I was visiting my mother for over three weeks in a state with no medical cannabis so I was without it for that time. I was fine. There was no withdraul or changes to my mental state, this was confirmed by my mother and sister I spoke to while I was there. I did keep up all my other therapies while I was away. Those commercial meds I take for my mental illness cause liver and pancreas damage, it’s nice taking another one that does non of those.

  6. PTSD treatment for Veterans found ineffective.There have been a hundred or more Vets who have DIED from these ‘atypical’ antipsychotics being prescribed ‘off-label’.Seroquel,Risperdal,Zyprexa can cause diabetes. I took Zyprexa Olanzapine a powerful Lilly schizophrenic drug for 4 years it was prescribed to me off-label for post traumatic stress disorder was ineffective costly and gave me diabetes.  *FIVE at FIVE* was the Zyprexa sales rep slogan, meaning *5mg dispensed at 5pm would keep patients quiet*.
    *Tell the truth don’t be afraid*– Daniel Haszard - FMI  http://www.zyprexa-victims.com
     

  7. Levi Axxael on

    Hello. I completely agree with this. I mean I live in OK but I suffer from PTSD and I know how that is. You know? But then I also believe that all of it should be legalized because people are gonna do it anyway…it is harmless…and it is NOT a gateway drug (at least not if you ask me). I believe there are gateway people who will go farther and others who aren’t don’t. I know a lot who don’t.

  8. I’m doing a story on Medical Marijuana in the New York’s metro area (New
    Jersey, NYC, and Long Island) for a local PBS station if you live in
    that area and would be interested in being featured in my piece, please
    let me know.

  9.  I’m doing a story on Medical Marijuana in the New York’s metro area (New
    Jersey, NYC, and Long Island) for a local PBS station if you live in
    that area and would be interested in being featured in my piece, please
    let me know.

  10. I’m doing a story on Medical Marijuana in the New York’s metro area (New
    Jersey, NYC, and Long Island) for a local PBS station if you live in
    that area and would be interested in being featured in my piece, please
    let me know. 

  11. I am a mother of twins veterans who did 2 tours, one in Iraq and one in Afgahnistan. My son Travis has a purple heart and an honorable discharge, with sever concusions. He suffers from PTSD, and found all the pharmasutical drugs where depressing him and making it worse. He found that pot is the only drug that takes this dissorder away. He feels people want to hurt him in a croud, he knows body launguage and can read people . He dosnt like being around them so he runs and panics. But get a buzz on this dosnt happen. The sad part is he was busted at a friends house during a raid, and is court orderd to be drug tested randomly for a year. A violation will put him in a federal prison. He suffers without it, but they want him to take pills with extreme side effects, that make him more depressed, im having a hard time with this stupid law. God , what is wrong with this world. I cry myself to sleep and pray he dosnt go off the deep end. All i can say is f/o m/f feds.

  12. If it helps anyone out with this issue, the VA has stated it will not interfere with veterans, who qualify under state laws to use medical cannabis.

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