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PTSD added to list of conditions treated with marijuana

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Steve DeFino helps vets get MMJ. - FILE PHOTO
  • File photo
  • Steve DeFino helps vets get MMJ.

Colorado's General Assembly has finally agreed to add Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) to the list of qualifying conditions for medical marijuana. After passing the Republican-controlled Senate on a 32-2 vote, SB17, or "Allow Medical Marijuana Use for Stress Disorders," is now headed to the governor's desk, marking a hard-won victory in the years-long effort, largely led by combat veterans, to expand alternative treatment options for patients suffering from PTSD.

Should the bill get signed into law, as expected, a statutory right to access medical marijuana will exist for a class of patients previously excluded from Amendment 20 — the state constitutional amendment providing for medical marijuana. No qualifying conditions have been added since the passage of that amendment in 2001, despite numerous petitions to the Colorado Board of Health, legislative efforts and a court challenge. The statutory right for those with stress disorders carries the same requirements, limitations, exceptions and affirmative defenses that the constitutional right does.

For insight into the issues this new law could resolve, refer to the Indy's cover story "Aim to heal" from April 20, 2016. The short version is that PTSD sufferers are hopeful they can now better access medicine that's less addictive and debilitating than the pharmaceuticals they're often prescribed. Cannabis, advocates say, is a safer, healthier and more effective alternative.

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