Later this month, the Arizona Dept of Health Services will hold a hearing as part of the effort to permit patients suffering from posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), migraines, depression, and general anxiety disorder to also legally use medical marijuana.
Prop 203, the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act, legalized the drug after voters approved it in November 2010, but the number of maladies the law allows to be treated with medicinal cannabis is limited. Nonetheless, medical marijuana has been demonstrated in numerous studies, and by physician recommendations in other medical pot states, to be efficacious for many conditions, including PTSD.
The Arizona Daily Sun reports that state Health Director Will Humble has received petitions from interested groups seeking to augment the list of afflictions for which medical pot can be used. However, Humble has already expressed concerns that the petitions are lacking double-blind peer-reviewed clinical studies, which he says are required to add new disorders and conditions to Prop 203.
The medical pot law allows any Arizona resident to petition Health Services to add a medical condition. And, as Humble noted to Capitol Media Services, he’s received “meaningful and helpful” anecdotal and personal pleas from patients asking that they be allowed to use medical marijuana for their unlisted conditions and that such testimony will be considered, even though it doesn't have the same decision-making impact as a placebo-based study on the subject published in the New England Journal of Medicine.
Humble is of the opinion that limited information could allow cannabis to bypass a more effective means of treating a condition, though if a patient prefers natural marijuana over a pharmaceutical drug, it seems he/she should be allowed to use legal cannabis.
Humble acknowledged that Prop 203 allows for the widely interpreted “severe and chronic pain” to be treated with pot, which theoretically could include migraines, with the decision to recommend medicinal marijuana for that affliction ultimately up to a given patient’s physician. But that does not officially add migraines or other conditions to the Prop 203 list.
To initiate that process, the Dept of Health Services will host the hearing on Friday, May 25 at the agency’s auditorium in the laboratory building. Adding PTSD specifically to Prop 203 will be discussed from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m., with the issue of migraines, depression, and anxiety for the next 90 minutes until 4 p.m.