The Michigan Medical Marijuana Review panel has added post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) to the list of allowable illnesses approved for marijuana, the first new condition to be added since voters approved cannabis for medicinal use in 2008.
The majority of medical marijuana programs in the country are focused on physical ailments; glaucoma, side effects of cancer and chemotherapy, HIV and arthritis to name a few. The director of the Licensing department Steve Arwood signed the order, noting: “marijuana for PTSD means the Michigan program now is moving into mental health.”
The panel voted 6-2 in favor of adding PTSD with the Chief Medical Executive of the State, Dr. Matthew Davis making the affirmative vote for approval.
While Arwood stated a few of his reservations about adding PTSD to the approved conditions, including concerns about veterans using VA benefits, and how medical marijuana may affect their plan, there have been many strides patients suffering from PTSD.
This decision comes on the heels of a major federal approval for PTSD-marijuana research. Suzanne Sisley, a study leader at the University of Arizona has been awaiting the second of three approvals since 2011 needed by federal government to begin a 10-week study that will examine 50 veterans with moderate to severe symptoms of PTSD.
According to Veterans for Medical Cannabis Access, the cannabinoid system is integrally related to memory, specifically to memory extinction. Memory extinction is a phenomenon in which conditioned responses fade away as older memories are replaced with new experiences. PTSD sufferers will continue to respond to stimuli when triggered, even when the response is no longer applicable to their situation. Cannabis may assist with memory extinction thereby aiding in eliminating the adverse response.
Additional anecdotal evidence suggests marijuana may also aid in anxiety, depression and insomnia – common symptoms of PTSD sufferers.
What do you think? Should people suffering with PTSD be allowed to use medical marijuana?