Colorado Adds PTSD to List of Qualifying Conditions for Medical Marijuana

After 16 years of waiting, Coloradoans suffering from PTSD got excellent news. On Monday, Governor Hickenlooper signed into law Senate Bill 17, which adds PTSD to the list of eight qualifying conditions (cancer, glaucoma, HIV/AIDS, cachexia, persistent muscle spasms, seizures, severe nausea, and severe pain) for which patients can access medical marijuana. It’s the first condition to be added to the list since the implementation of Colorado’s medical marijuana law in 2001.

While 19 other states consider PTSD to be a qualifying condition for medical cannabis, Colorado has been late to the table. To add another condition to the list, Colorado requires “published literature of randomized controlled trials or well-designed observational studies on human subjects.” But given the roadblocks the federal government has imposed on cannabis research, that’s nearly impossible. Federal law prohibits the research that the state requires, making the predicament a bit of a catch-22.

The legal obstacles have made prior efforts to add PTSD to the qualifying list of conditions fail. In 2015, 35 individuals – mostly veterans – testified before Colorado’s Board of Health urging the addition, but that proposal failed. Then, in 2016, Representatives of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment Medical Marijuana Scientific Advisory Council spoke out in favor of the adding PTSD to the list. This led State Senator (and medical doctor) Irene Aguilar to co-sponsor a bill to that effect. The bill moved through the House and Senate in the spring of this year, and the Governor signed the bill this week.

A study by the RAND Corporation found that roughly 20% of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans suffer from PTSD, making it a major health issue for those who’ve served in the military over the past two decades. The Green Solution® cares about our military, and we’re grateful for the service of our veterans, as well as the wisdom of the lawmakers involved in passing Senate Bill 17.