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7/29/2013 6:00:00 AM
Arizona petition urges pot for PTSD

Doug McMurdo
Miner Staff Reporter

KINGMAN - People, especially veterans, who suffer with post-traumatic stress disorder may soon qualify for treatment under the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act.

The Arizona Cannabis Nurses Association has formally petitioned the Arizona Department of Health Services to include PTSD as a qualifying condition.

"The benefits of treating PTSD with medical cannabis is well founded," said ACNA President Heather Manus.

The petition is in response to the large number of new veterans who have been diagnosed with PTSD - about 240,000 of the men and women who fought in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. That's the number of veterans listed with PTSD on Veterans Affairs rosters.

Manus said Oregon and Maine recently added PTSD to their list of qualified debilitating medical conditions, and New Mexico recently ratified the continuation of PTSD as a qualifying condition.

PTSD is a serious health problem. According to Veterans Affairs, suicide in the veteran population has increased 20 percent since 2007, with an average of 22 former service members and one active duty member killing themselves each day.

"The many sufferers of PTSD that are veterans spend swaths of their days needlessly reliving traumatic combat experiences endured while fighting for our freedoms," said Manus. "These returning veterans do not, however, have the full freedom to choose natural, effective remedies like marijuana instead of side-effect ridden pharmaceutical cocktails to treat their PTSD."

If the petition, which was prepared by a team of 2013 University of Arizona graduates, passes health department scrutiny, a public hearing will be scheduled.

Manus, in addition to being a nurse, is the executive director of Heavenly Harvest, the first licensed medical marijuana edibles and infusion kitchen in the state.

"As a practicing psych nurse in Mew Mexico, we successfully treated our returning war heroes and veterans with this natural herbal medicine," said Manus. "Our Arizona veterans and other Arizona residents afflicted with PTSD deserve nothing less."

This will be the third attempt to have PTSD placed on the list of qualifying conditions.

While a stunning number of U.S. veterans who served in the Global War on Terror have been diagnosed with PTSD and traumatic brain injuries, Manus said she has no idea how many of them live in Arizona.

She does know cannabis helps them.

"When I started to learn how effective it was, I felt like I had been lied to (in nursing college)," said Manus.

She said studies prove that if cannabis is administered within 24 hours of a traumatic event, it helps to block violent memories that play a role in PTSD. Manus said cannabis has proved to be "very effective" over time, as well.

"We're hoping the third time is the charm," said Manus, who noted there are no psychological impairments included on the list of qualified conditions.

"That's not right," she said. "We know cannabis provides immense benefits to people with PTSD, depression and who are bi-polar.

"We know cannabis isn't for everybody, but for those who it helps, it helps a lot."

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Reader Comments

Posted: Tuesday, September 3, 2013
Article comment by: David K

Will Humble has obstructed the intent of the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act by using a similar criteria to approve new conditions that would permit FDA approval. Had the voters wanted to use FDA criteria they would not have voted for this act. It is likely that for people who need it for conditions not already listed that they will have to support the voter initiative that is being circulated to treat marijuana like alcohol.

Posted: Tuesday, September 3, 2013
Article comment by: David K Phoenix, Az

Dear Justanobody Sr:

The U.S. Patent Office issued patent #6630507 to the U.S.Health and Human Services filed on 2/2/2001. The patent lists the use of certain cannabinoids found within the cannabis sativa plant as useful in certain neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, and HIV dementia. Since cannabis sativa (marijuana) contains compounds recognized and endorsed by an agency of the U.S. government- Why is it that marijuana remains on the Federal Schedule One list of drugs? The issuance of patent #6630507 is a direct contradiction of the governments own definition for classification of a Schedule 1 drug.

Marijuana does not cause brain damage, it protects people from it according to the US government. After close to 6 years of requests under the freedom of information act it was learned that the brain damage research that you mention resulted from suffocating the animals involved by failing to provide oxygen with the smoke that was force fed to them long enough to cause damage due to lack of oxygen.

Posted: Wednesday, July 31, 2013
Article comment by: anonymous anonymous

Ironically society sets these standards and folks will do what they wish to anyway! It is ironic once upon a time it was illegal to buy and consume alcohol! Did the ban stop anyone from drinking who wanted to? No, it made a lot of gangsters rich, a lot of politicians rich since they took them bribes and pay offs, etc.! I quit drinking at age 25, but am a realist, not everyone can do what I did, and making criminals of folks who do no more than I did drinking alcohol in my youth is foolish, wasted energy! I saw many of my fellow marines resort to drugs of all kinds to deaden their miseries, its the human condition I guess since many do it for many reasons, it solves nothing, but again tax it, control it like alcohol and make the gangsters become useless!

Posted: Wednesday, July 31, 2013
Article comment by: Joe Miller

@ Pu Pupuhi

My heart goes out to you sir, to both you and your family. No one should have to live 90% disabled with PTSD.

Have you considered getting some counseling for your condition? I would be more than happy to help you in finding a good therapist.

Please feel free to contact me. You can google me for my phone number. I live in Needles, CA.

Peace brother, and Semper fi.

Posted: Wednesday, July 31, 2013
Article comment by: @ Pu Pupuhi

Thank you for your service sir.

No offense but if you are actually 90 percent disabled due to PTSD, you probably should have been placed on some type of psychotropic medication years ago. Even if only on a trial basis.

Semper Fi and best wishes to you and your family.

Posted: Wednesday, July 31, 2013
Article comment by: @ Justanobody

If you were to examine the issue of legalization of cannabis you would find that the majority of support is coming from non-users of the drug.

Why? Because they understand that prohibitionist drug policies cause as much damage to our communities, children, and non-users as they do the users of these currently illicit substances. Remember alcohol prohibition? Prohibition was a destructive policy then and it is a bad policy now.

Posted: Wednesday, July 31, 2013
Article comment by: Pu Pupuhi

PTSD. late 1965, '66,'67'68 tours in .Nam 1970 went back, May 1971 Med-Evac, 6 months Balboa Hosp, SD, Ca. Rtn to duty, retired 1973. Yes, I am 90% PTSD now.. I don't need MJ or any kind of drugs. Never used them either. If you're a crack head or junkie, than its another problem, that you took to get high. I do have my nightmares /flashbacks but, its for the enemy who I zapped. I can't say about Iraq war or Vets been there. I was in a jungle war compare to desert. Still battles are fought you been here, done that. I don't need that kind of comfort to ease my PTSD. But, all Vet's are my brothers, and I'd there if you need a hand.
Force Recon Marine

Posted: Wednesday, July 31, 2013
Article comment by: justanobody sr

all you dope smokers will not give up will you?
marijuana has been PROVEN to cause brain damage, yet you continue to expound on how great it is, all the while it is killing brain cells
for every excuse you have to use it, there are 1/2 dozen better medicines that WILL help you, yet your so determined to "smoke dope"

Posted: Tuesday, July 30, 2013
Article comment by: Joe Miller

@ I live

I mentioned this in another thread but I think it is important to point out in this one too. The vast majority of those who support cannabis legalization have no interest in also legalizing the act of driving under the influence of this drug or any other drug for that matter. Nor do we support or encourage the use of any drug while engaged in combat or any other hazardous activity including operating machinery.

Think about this do you think the criminalization of alcohol and alcohol use would be a good approach to the problem of individuals driving under the influence of alcoholic beverages or other behaviors while under the influence of alcohol keeping in mind America’s past experience with alcohol prohibition?

Also, how do we morally justify criminalizing the vast majority of our population who possess or use cannabis but would never engage in doing something as hazardous and irresponsible as driving under the influence of the substance or any other such activity?

Posted: Tuesday, July 30, 2013
Article comment by: I live with PTSD everyday

I served in Viet Nam. I served in active combat in country. I was a small unit commander. A commissioned officer. I lost men and I spent time in the 9th Evac after being dusted off as a direct result of active combat. I have and I am treated medically for PTSD. It is not fun but you know, you can take your damn MJ and go away. You see, I saw troops injured and killed as a result of using your harmless weed. You don't forget that. Never. I saw troops injured and killed as a result of alcohol. I saw troops injured and killed as a result of your "harmful" drugs. Those killed are now a memory on a black granite wall. All because of some "harmless" activity. Nice legacy, isn't it. Most of you proclaim the benefits and that it is no more harmful than alcohol.then treat it as such. DUI is DUI and. Under the influence, the same thing. Look at the faces in the wall. You have no idea.

Those that are veterans of COMBAT may say anything they like in response. The rest of you, yes you have 1st Amendment rights so I guess you are entitled to tell me how I feel and what I have experienced and.....never mind

Posted: Monday, July 29, 2013
Article comment by: The Fox Hound

Of course PTSD should be added but that really doesn't go far enough. Hemp should be legal and treated no different than Beer or wine. As the law is now the State has simply taken over the role of street dealer. Arizona's law says if you live less than 25 miles from a dispensary {and that includes most of us} you can't grow your own and you have to go to state run monopoly to get your medicine. This is just plain wrong. All patients should be able to grow their own medicine if they choose to. I believe that we could create thousands of jobs through out the state by limiting growers to grow no more than 99 plants. This would keep the large Corporations out of it and prices would be set by a free market. This would also create hundreds of companies who could pay taxes on the income, like any other business.

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