Arizona: Health Department Expands State’s Medical Cannabis Program To Include Post-Traumatic Stress

Arizona: Health Department Expands State's Medical Cannabis Program To Include Post-Traumatic Stress

Phoenix, AZ: State health officials have agreed to changes in the state’s medical cannabis law to permit patients with post-traumatic stress to be eligible to use cannabis therapy.

Regulators agreed late last week to expand the state’s list of qualifying conditions to include the physician-recommended use of cannabis for the palliative care of post-traumatic stress symptoms. Doctors will be legally able to authorize the therapy to qualified patients starting on January 1, 2015.

The decision marks the first time that state health officials have expanded the list of eligible conditions since Arizona voters legalized the physician-authorized use of cannabis in 2010.

Arizona is one of a growing number of states – including Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Michigan, New Mexico, Nevada, and Oregon – that explicitly allows for the use of cannabis to treat symptoms of post-traumatic stress.

Clinical trial data published in recent weeks reports that the administration of the synthetic cannabinoids nabilone and absorbable THC are both associated with significant improvement in the treatment of post-traumatic stress symptoms.

In 2013, researchers at the New York University School of Medicine published findings indicating that subjects with post-traumatic stress experience a decrease in their natural production of anandamide, an endogenous cannabinoid neurotransmitter. They hypothesized that an increase in the body’s production of cannabinoids would likely restore subjects’ natural brain chemistry and psychological balance. "[Our] findings substantiate, at least in part, emerging evidence that … plant-derived cannabinoids such as marijuana may possess some benefits in individuals with PTSD by helping relieve haunting nightmares and other symptoms of PTSD," they concluded.

For more information, please contact Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director, at: