Pot Advocates Ask Colorado to Allow Medical-Marijuana Use for PTSD

July 8, 2010 – Cannabis advocates on Wednesday filed a petition to include post-traumatic stress disorder on the state’s list of medical-marijuana-approved conditions.

The petition argues that medical marijuana can help with PTSD — especially in veterans — by easing depression, anxiety and nightmares. The petition was formally filed at the state health department by Kevin Grimsinger, an Army veteran and double amputee who said he lost his legs after stepping on a land mine in 2001 in Afghanistan.

“People who have served our country or other people who were injured and have PTSD should be able to have access to medicine that helps them,” said Brian Vicente, executive director of Sensible Colorado, an advocacy group backing the petition.

Colorado voters in 2000 approved a constitutional amendment allowing for the use of medical marijuana for eight conditions. The amendment also creates a petition process by which more conditions can be approved.

Grimsinger’s petition will be reviewed by Ned Calonge, the state’s chief medical officer, who will determine within 180 days whether it warrants a public hearing before the state Board of Health. If the board gives the OK, doctors would be able to write marijuana recommendations for PTSD.

Four previous petitions — for Parkinson’s disease, anxiety, asthma and bipolar disorder — were denied for lack of a scientific basis. The PTSD petition cites multiple studies that suggest marijuana can be beneficial to PTSD patients.

State Rep. Joe Miklosi, a Denver Democrat who supports the petition, said that should be enough to prompt a public hearing.

“All we’re asking for is a fair shot, a fair hearing and review process,” he said.

Grimsinger, who uses a wheelchair, works as a veterans outreach coordinator for a medical-marijuana dispensary. He said marijuana has helped ease his pain, both physical and emotional.

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