New Mexico, one of the few states that permits the use of medical marijuana for post-traumatic stress disorder patients (PTSD), has enacted regulations that make it “unnecessarily difficult” for patients to gain access to the drug.
In order to be granted use of medical marijuana, a patient’s doctor must provide documented proof that every other potential remedy has proved ineffective.
A Santa Fe lawsuit filed by neuropsychiatry specialist Dr. Carola Kieve now claims that the state has denied patients the drug “without sufficient cause.” The lawsuit states that the New Mexico Department of Health and the state’s Medical Cannabis Advisory Board “have imposed regulations that are neither required by nor authorized by state law.”
Cannabis has proven effective in alleviating some of PTSD’s most common symptoms, including “anxiety, traumatic memories, and insomnia.” It is a cure that has frequently been administered to veterans of the Iraq War.
And yet, use of medical marijuana is what led to Iraq War veteran Augustine Stanley’s being fired from a correctional facility in Albuquerque. As his wife Anetra has described, Stanley returned from war an entirely changed man. “When it got bad, it was awful,” she said.
When Stanley was prescribed medical marijuana, however, she saw the return of her husband as she had known him. “I want him to stay on this,” she continued.
Stanley is joined in her cause by The Freedom to Choose, a campaign of drug researchers, veterans, and lawmakers that strives to remove the stigma surrounding the use of medical marijuana. Interestingly, New Mexico is one of the states where the organization has been most outspoken.
As Stanley has put it, people need to “recognize the quality of life this medication gives back to the patients.”
The only other states that currently permit medical marijuana in the treatment of PTSD are Maine, Oregon, California, Connecticut, Delaware, and Massachusetts.