Lansing, MI: State regulators have agreed to allow physicians to authorize cannabis therapy for patients with post-traumatic stress (PTSD).
Members of the Medical Marihuana Review Panel voted 6 to 2 to expand the state's list of qualifying conditions to include PTSD. The Director of the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs signed off on the recommendation earlier this month.
This is the first time that regulators have expanded the state's list of qualifying conditions since voters initially legalized the physician-authorized use of cannabis in 2008.
Six other states - Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, New Mexico, Nevada, and Oregon - explicitly allow for the use of cannabis to treat symptoms of post-traumatic stress. Nevada regulators expanded their law to include PTSD earlier this year. Oregon and Maine lawmakers amended their medical cannabis laws last year to include post-traumatic stress.
Clinical trial data published in the May issue of the journal Molecular Psychiatry theorized that cannabinoid-based therapies would likely comprise the "next generation of evidence-based treatments for PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder)."
Post-traumatic stress syndrome is an anxiety disorder that is estimated to impact some eight million Americans annually. To date, there are no pharmaceutical treatments specifically designed or approved to target symptoms of PTSD.
Last week, federal officials at the Public Health Service approved the use of cannabis in a privately funded pilot trial at the University of Arizona College of Medicine to assess its potential risks and benefits in war veterans suffering from PTSD, including the plant's potential impact on subjects' anxiety, suicidality, and depression. Although FDA officials had initially approved the study in 2011, neither PHS (Public Health Service) nor NIDA (the US National Institute on Drug Abuse) signed off on the protocol until this month. Both agencies, as well as the US DEA, must approve any clinical trial involving cannabis.
For more information, please contact Allen St. Pierre, NORML Executive Director, or Erik Altieri, NORML Communications Director, at (202) 483-5500.