PTSD sufferers may lose access to medical cannabis
Posted at: 10/05/2012 6:17 PM
| Updated at: 10/05/2012 9:35 PM
By: Jill Galus, KOB Eyewitness News 4
People who smoke medical marijuana to treat Post Traumatic Stress Disorder will lose their right to smoke it if a local psychiatrist gets his way.
Dr. William Ulwelling has petitioned the state to remove PTSD from the list of qualifying conditions.
"There's no good scientific link saying that marijuana treats PTSD," Ulwelling said.
It is that lack of evidence that Ulwelling said prompted him to write a petition to get PTSD knocked off the list of qualifying conditions for medical marijuana patients in New Mexico.
"People with PTSD are at special risk to be harmed by marijuana, as many as two-thirds of people who have PTSD, are subsequently developing substance abuse," Ulwelling said.
But one organization argues that removing PTSD as a qualifier would essentially disqualify nearly half of the state's medical cannabis patients, many who are also veterans.
"Their access to effective care is being threatened by this petition," Director Emily Kaltenbach, of New Mexico's Drug Policy Alliance said.
PTSD is the number one condition patients in New Mexico are approved under.
"Over 40 percent of medical cannabis patients are approved under PTSD," Kaltenbach said.
In other words, nearly 3,300 patients currently enrolled, who say medical marijuana works for them, would lose access to the medicinal drug, Kaltenbach said.
"Some of them have actually transitioned off other medications that were severely or really addictive medications, and they can use medical cannabis without serious side effects," Kaltenbach said.
The New Mexico Medical Cannabis Advisory Board will review the petition on November 7th. Veterans are planning to speak out against it.
The interim health secretary will make the final decision.
"I'm not even arguing that there might be some people currently in the program that are benefiting from it, I'm just saying there's no evidence at the current time to say, we could offer this to the people of New Mexico as an accepted treatment," Ulwelling said.