Arizona has approved the use of marijuana to treat the symptoms of PTSD starting January, so long as patients can prove they are also undergoing conventional therapy.
"Today I issued a Director's Decision that will authorize the use of marijuana . . . for patients that are currently undergoing conventional treatment for a diagnosis of PTSD," State Health Director Will Humble wrote in a blog post
published Wednesday on the health department's website.
"Physician certifications would be valid only for the palliative care of PTSD symptoms (not treatment). 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."
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Arizona voters passed a medical marijuana law in 2010, and since then nearly 50,000 people have been able to obtain up to 2 ounces of marijuana every two weeks under the existing list of conditions.
According to the Arizona Daily Star
, however, the law also requires that the health department consider expansions to the list.
Humble refused two previous requests to add PTSD to the list, citing lack of peer-reviewed studies or other evidence proving it can be an effective treatment for the condition, which may affect 1 in 13 Arizonans.
A new study published in the Journal of Psychoactive Drugs in March of this year finally changed Humble's mind, but it only proves that marijuana is useful in the palliative care of patients with PTSD. That means it can only help ease the pain of the symptoms caused by PTSD, while its effectiveness in directly treating and curing the condition is still under investigation.
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