PTSD patients concerned about medical cannabis fate
Posted at: 10/08/2012 6:57 PM
By: Jill Galus, KOB Eyewitness News 4
Thousands of people suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder are worried about a local psychiatrist's petition to remove PTSD as a qualifying condition from the New Mexico Medical Cannabis Program.
Friday, KOB 4 reported nearly half of all the people enrolled in the program suffer from PTSD. Many patients who are qualified under this condition are also veterans.
"I lost the weight, my cholesterol went down, anxiety's better," Jennifer Simms, who suffers from PTSD and uses medical marijuana, said.
She added her overall health and well-being significantly improved over the past three years since she got off prescription pills and began using medical marijuana treatment instead.
"If they took it away, it would be all this hard work and success to get healthy, is just being thrown down the drain," Simms said.
"Cannabis addresses the basic underlying neuro-biological processes that are involved in PTSD," Bryan Krumm, a psychiatric nurse practitioner, said. "It turns these symptoms off at the root cause, as opposed to trying to force the symptom back down once it's already existing."
Simms is among the close to 3,300 patients at risk for losing access to the medicinal drug.
Psychiatrist Dr. William Ulwelling is petitioning to remove PTSD from the list of qualifying conditions, citing a lack of scientific evidence.
"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.
Simms said if she loses access to medical cannabis she does not know what she will do.
"That's terrifying to me, terrifying... almost to the point of, would I rather just deal with the symptoms of PTSD," Simms said.
The Medical Cannabis Advisory Board will review the petition on November 7.
The interim health secretary will ultimately make the final decision.