In Phoenix, Arizona, big changes will arrive in 2015 as the Department of Health Services will allow those with post-traumatic stress disorder to relieve their symptoms with marijuana without any legal repercussions.
Will Humble, the Director of the Department of Health Services, made the big decision yesterday after reviewing data and other studies that proved that marijuana can have a positive effect in reducing the discomfort that people experience with PTSD.
However, there are some strict regulations that Humble has insisted that doctors must follow. Firstly, any patient prescribed marijuana to deal with their PTSD must not try it as a first option. Instead, the patient must have tried other treatments for symptoms, even if those symptoms still continue.
There’s also a limitation on the amount of marijuana that a patient can receive. The limit on the new law caps consumption at two and a half ounces distributed on a two-week basis.
This life-altering decision especially impacted Ken Sobel, an attorney in Tucson who’s also a member of the Arizona Cannabis Nurses Association. He’d been pushing for the change all along and noted to reporters that voters hadn’t approved of any laws regarding the use of marijuana to soothe conditions or diseases since at least 2010.
The new law also expands beyond just PTSD and allows patients with aches and discomfort from chronic pain, AIDS, or glaucoma to receive medical marijuana prescription. According to the Arizona Daily Sun, that means that currently about 50,000 Arizona residents are eligible to receive medical marijuana.
Before Humble made his decision, he looked into the data well. He worked with the local University of Arizona as well as the College of Public Health where he connected the dots between PTSD and medical marijuana use in order to combat petitioners. The most conclusive research he found was from a manuscript, which, according to Humble, picked up on “an association between cannabis used and PTSD symptoms in some patients.”
He elaborated further: “In other words, the information presented by the petitioners at the hearing and subsequently published study provided evidence that marijuana may be helpful in the palliative care of PTSD in some patients.”
With that information, he was granted permission to pass the law. According to Sobel, who spoke with a doctor, the estimate is that there’re about 500,000 people in the state of Arizona that could have PTSD. Sometimes symptoms are difficult to diagnose, so a sufferer may not even realize that they have the condition.