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PTSD to Stay as Qualifying Condition in NM Medical Cannabis Program

Health Secretary Retta Ward said the petition lacks sufficient evidence to remove PTSD.

April 30, 2013, 3:00 pm
By Joey Peters

Today, to the likely relief of nearly 40 percent of the estimated 8,800 medical marijuana patients with PSTD, Department of Health Secretary Retta Ward ruled that post-traumatic stress disorder will remain qualifying condition in that state's Medical Cannabis Program.

Last fall, a local psychiatrist caused a storm in  New Mexico's medical marijuana community when he petitioned the state to remove post-traumatic stress disorder patients from the list of qualifiers in the MCP. Ward's decision officially denies the petition.

"Really the decision is based on insufficient scientific and medical evidence," DOH spokesman Kenny Vigil tells SFR.

In his petition, Albuquerque psychiatrist William Ulwelling argued that the scientific evidence supporting medical marijuana as treatment for PTSD is anecdotal. It is, largely because federal law has has restricted studies on marijuana

But Ulwelling also cited studies concluding that marijuana is addictive and can lead to psychosis, both of which are ironically based on anecdotal science themselves.

In November, several dozen medical marijuana patients attended Ulwelling's petition to the Medical Cannabis Advisory board in protest. There, his arguments didn't go over well, to say the least ("If donuts were recommended as treatment for PTSD, I wouldn't be here," he said, followed by heckles in the crowd).

The Medical Cannabis Advisory board ended up unanimously recommending that PTSD stay on the list of qualifying conditions in the MCP, which DOH formally followed through on today.

In the press release, DOH cited state law that requires "substantial credible medical and scientific evidence" needed to remove a qualifying condition from the medical marijuana program.

 

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