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Marijuana for Stress Disorder

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder has become well known through news reports of soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. The disorder leaves sufferers incapable of living normal lives as they cope simultaneously with feeling of depression and fear they cannot seem to shake. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, the original stress event creates a strong memory that is replayed (sometimes unconsciously) and triggers all the physical symptoms even though the event has long passed and the danger no longer exists. It isn’t just the trauma of war that can cause this, but any serious trauma, such as a mugging or accident.

Mainers who suffer from PTSD can now apply to treat the symptoms with marijuana as the diagnosis will shortly be added to the list of medically appropriate conditions for the use of the drug. In Maine, patients who wish to use marijuana (and doctors that want to recommend it) have to stick to a list of diagnoses – taking the drug outside of these listed conditions is still illegal.

LD 1062 went on the books without the Governor’s signature and adds Maine to the list of states that have authorized medical weed for PTSD: Oregon, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts and New Mexico. New Hampshire is expected to adopt similar rule changes in July.

One of the criticisms of adding diagnoses such as PTSD is that the science supporting marijuana use hasn’t been thoroughly vetted. Because marijuana is still illegal under federal law, doing studies with federal funding is very difficult and many research institutions shy away from allowing marijuana use in their facilities. The result is that evidence for effectiveness may consist mainly of stories from users, instead of peer reviewed and published scientific papers.

Still, because the risk of an adverse reaction to taking marijuana is low, and the potential for addiction and abuse is monitored by the recommending physician, it does seem compassionate to allow use for any condition where medical professionals can agree there is a good possibility marijuana will help.

Patients who wish to try medical weed in Maine for PTSD will have to meet all other requirements of the program.

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