Patients Hit Colorado With Lawsuit After State Denies Marijuana As PTSD Treatment

Jonah Bennett | Contributor

Five patients have filed suit against the state of Colorado after the Board of Health decided in July not to approve marijuana as a treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

State authorities, including the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, have 21 days to respond.

“The board in effect established a standard that was impossible to meet,” Bob Hoban, attorney for the patients, told The Associated Press. “They insist on having a federal study, which in effect is a futile standard.”

Oddly enough, despite a panel of physicians and Colorado’s chief medical officer arguing that PTSD should receive designation for medical marijuana eligibility, the Board of Health ruled that there simply isn’t enough research to support marijuana as treatment for PTSD.

According to board president Tony Cappello, anecdotal reports from users trying to link the drug to better outcomes for PTSD sufferers don’t count. The reason the chief medical officer initially recommended the designation, though, is because users with PTSD often use pot regardless of whether medical authorities issue their blessing, and so the designation would allow researchers more data to work with when studying the drug.

The request was denied by a 6-2 vote. Back in July, many veterans reacted negatively at the news, with boos and hisses at the board meeting. Veterans stated that marijuana is far superior to other medications often handed out very loosely at VA clinics, like antidepressants and opioids.

“It is our brothers and sisters who are committing suicide every day,” John Evans, director of Veterans 4 Freedoms told The Denver Post. “We know cannabis can help. We’re not going to go away.”

The reason why the medical status of marijuana for certain conditions is so important is because of different tax rates, The AP reports. Colorado levies a tax of at least 25 percent on recreational marijuana, whereas for medical marijuana, the tax rate plummets down to just 2.9 percent. Additionally, medical patients can possess two ounces. Recreational users are only allowed to possess one ounce.

But users can’t buy medical marijuana without a doctor’s recommendation. Currently, the list of conditions is limited to eight and include AIDS, glaucoma, seizures, severe pain and several others.

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