Proponents of medical marijuana are pushing the Arizona Department of Health Services to include post-traumatic stress disorder in its list of qualifying conditions.
Arizona's Prop 203 legalized marijuana for medical use in 2010, allowing those with approval to cultivate the drug. But while severe conditions like cancer, HIV and AIDS are addressed in the law, there are still many diseases and afflictions that the "Arizona Medical Marijuana Act" doesn't cover.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, PTSD is an "anxiety disorder that some people get after seeing or living through a dangerous event." When a person is in danger, they feel a "fight or flight" urge - either to face the danger or run from it - but in people with PTSD, that urge is broken; "People who have PTSD may feel stressed or frightened even when they’re no longer in danger," says the NIMH.
Health Director Will Humble has received petitions to add PTSD to the list of qualifying conditions, and will conduct a hearing about it later this month. If all goes well, he will issue a ruling in August.
But PTSD sufferers aren't the only ones looking for additions to the law. According to the Arizona Daily Sun, "other petitions are seeking to make the drug an option to treat migraines, depression and general anxiety disorder."
Humble says that the petitions he's received have been coupled with personal stories speaking of the efficacy of marijuana for their PTSD. However, Humble says that in science, anecdotes are "not up there with a peer-reviewed, double-blind, placebo type of study...that ends up being published in the Journal of the American Medical Association or the New England Journal of Medicine."
Patients with personal stories, however, are encouraged to show up to the hearing on May 25. It will be held at the Department of Health Service's State Laboratory building at 250 N. 17th Ave. Phoenix AZ. PTSD will be covered in the first session from 1 to 2:30 p.m. Sessions later in the day will cover depression, migraines and general anxiety disorder.