Colorado Board of Health Refuses to Allow Marijuana for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder; Tells Veterans to Stick to Opioids

Sunday, August 23, 2015
(photo: Justin Sullivan, Getty Images)

The Colorado Department of Public Health and the Environment and its Board of Health voted last month to deny those who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) access to medical marijuana, despite the recommendation from the state’s chief medical officer that it add marijuana to the list of approved treatments.


“It is our brothers and sisters who are committing suicide every day. We know cannabis can help. We’re not going to go away,” John Evans, director of Veterans 4 Freedoms, told The Denver Post. “We’ve legalized it. We’ll take the tax dollars from our tourists (for recreational marijuana) before we’ll help our vets.”


The six board members who voted against the proposal said it was because there’s not enough evidence that marijuana is a safe and effective treatment for the condition. “I’m struggling with the science piece,” board member Dr. Christopher Stanley said, according to the Post. Part of the reason for that is that the federal government makes it difficult to study marijuana’s therapeutic uses.


So, victims of PTSD, many of them veterans, will continue to be treated with opioid drugs that can lead to addition, overdose and many other unpleasant side effects.


“When we see that veterans are able to use medical cannabis and not use so many pills, it can have an extraordinarily good impact, with the pills themselves causing a lot of problems.” Michael Krawitz, the director of Veterans for Medical Marijuana, told Courthouse News Service.

Now, four war veterans and a victim of sexual assault have sued the state to force it to add PTSD to the list of conditions for which marijuana may be prescribed. Nine states currently have already done so.

-Steve Straehley


To Learn More:

Veterans Sue Colorado for Marijuana Rights (by Emma Gannon, Courthouse News Service)

Colorado Board Votes No on Allowing Medical Marijuana for PTSD (by Electa Draper, Denver Post)

Colorado Denies Veterans Medical Marijuana for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (by Nat Stein, Colorado Independent)

Senate Takes First Step to Allow Vets to Use Medical Marijuana (by Steve Straehley, AllGov)


harley 8 years ago
Opioids for PTSD makes no sense; they are for pain control, not anxiety, depression, etc. So Colorado prefers soldiers, crime victims, etc. to get addicted to pain killers that aren't even supposed to be used for conditions like PTSC, rather than let them use medical marijuana which is legal there anyway? Not sure marijuana should be legally available without prescription, but since 30+ states allow it for medical uses, why disallow it's use for this condition? Opioids have severe side effects and potential long-term use problems which can exacerbate PTSD symptoms; regardless of marijuana restrictions, why is this Board recommending opoiod use?

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