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Weed For PTSD: New Jersey Senate Passes Medical Marijuana Bill

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Craig Boudreau Vice Reporter

The New Jersey state Senate approved a bill Monday that would allow people suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) to have access to medical marijuana.

Assembly Bill 457 now awaits a final decision from New Jersey Republican Gov. Chris Christie, according to The Washington Times Monday. Marijuana can be prescribed under the bill if conventional treatments for PTSD have proven ineffective.

“For many veterans, the effects of PTSD are not always healed by time and can be lasting and profound,” Democratic Assemblyman Tim Eustace said, according to The Washington Times. “When it comes to PTSD, medical marijuana holds the promise of providing significant relief as it does for many other illnesses and conditions that are not easily treatable with traditional medication.”

Both the U.S. Senate and the House of Representative passed bills in May that allowed Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) doctors to prescribe the medication to those suffering from PTSD.

NJ.com ran an online poll Tuesday asking whether or not people support legalizing marijuana to treat PTSD. Of the 385 total votes cast thus far, nearly 98 percent support it.

“We know that individuals with PTSD are using marijuana that they are getting from the streets,” Democratic state Senator Nicholas Scutari told NJ.com. “By doing so, they are at risk of purchasing a substance that may be laced with a dangerous additive and of getting a criminal charge.”

“The belief that marijuana can be used to treat PTSD is limited to anecdotal reports from individuals with PTSD who say that the drug helps with their symptoms,” the VA wrote in a release. “There have been no randomized controlled trials, a necessary “gold standard” for determining efficacy.”

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has recently given the go-ahead to Colorado’s Health Department to begin such studies. Dr. Sue Sisley, who is helping undertake the studies, says that they will allow 76 veterans to enroll in clinics in Baltimore and Phoenix to assess the effectiveness of the drug in treating PTSD. This marks the first time the DEA has given such a study its approval.

“The study needs to happen because these veterans have legitimate questions,” Sisley told The Denver Post.

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