01.31.2017
policy

Colorado Bill Would Allow Doctors to Recommend MMJ for PTSD

SB17 would make Colorado the 12th state to allow weed for treating PTSD.

More than 15 years after Colorado legalized its medical marijuana program, a bill is making its way to the state Senate that would allow doctors to recommend cannabis for patients hoping to treat symptoms associated with post-traumatic stress disorder. A state Senate committee voted unanimously Monday to advance the amended SB17, which would also designate acute stress disorder as a condition for which sufferers could receive a doctor-ordered mmj recommendation.

Military veterans are one of the largest demographics in support of marijuana as a treatment for PTSD. But Veterans Affairs doctors risk federal prosecution if they recommend mmj; vets risk losing VA coverage if they test positive for weed.

“I probably wouldn’t be alive today if it wasn’t for cannabis,” said Curtis Bean, one of more than a dozen veterans reported by the Cannabist as speaking on behalf of the bill. “Cannabis is the absolute glue that holds me together,” he said.

The Rocky Mountain State, which approved recreational adult-use of marijuana in 2012, and established a regulated retail market in 2014, currently grants doctors the ability to recommend medical weed for patients who meet nine “debilitating medical conditions,” which include glaucoma, HIV/AIDS, and chronic pain. The two markets are taxed differently, with recreational retail sales at a higher rate. Essentially, people hoping to treat PTSD with marijuana are paying more for their medicine via the recreational market.

While Colorado’s medical community is mostly supportive of the additional debilitating conditions, it is still cautious of medical marijuana as a cure-all substance. And veterans are not the only people suffering from post-traumatic stress.

From the Cannabist:

“PTSD doesn’t have an age or a gender,” said Dr. Charolette “Charlie” Lippolis, a child and teen psychiatrist. “Most sufferers are not vets. I have concerns, grave concerns, about putting this forward as a medical treatment … without the data to support that.”

If SB17 sees passage, it would make Colorado the 12th state that allows medical marijuana recommendations for PTSD.

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