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State Health Department Green Lights Medical Marijuana for PTSD


Come January first, doctors will be able to recommend marijuana to their patients with post-traumatic stress disorder. But Arizona Public Radio’s Howard Fischer reports, the legal fight may not be over.

State Health Director Will Humble has twice rejected requests to add PTSD to the list of conditions for which someone could legally use the drug under the 2010 voter-approved law. But, last month a hearing officer said there is the required evidence marijuana can help sufferers deal with the symptoms. So on Wednesday, Humble gave the go ahead. But, he said doctors could recommend it only for symptoms, saying there was no proof marijuana cures PTSD. And, he said doctors first have to try more traditional treatments. Attorney Ken Sobel who pushed for the change said such restrictions are impermissible.

“There is nothing in the rule that once a condition is listed that allows the department to add further conditions to it,” he said.

Sobel noted for example that the law as approved by voters allows marijuana to be used by cancer patients to help them deal with chemotherapy.

“Well, we don’t have evidence yet that cannabis can cure cancer. But we know they can feel a lot better from the chemotherapy,” he said.

And, he said they’re not required to prove they’ve first tried other conventional medicines. There was no immediate response to Sobel’s claims from the health department.

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