DENVER --- Tomorrow, Wednesday, July 7, the medical marijuana advocacy group Sensible Colorado and local veterans will hold a press conference and rally to coincide with the official submission of a petition to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment that would add post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, to the list of conditions eligible for medical marijuana recommendations in Colorado.
The petition is being filed on behalf of Denver resident Kevin Grimsinger, a retired Army sergeant who served in Kosovo, Operation Desert Storm and Afghanistan. As detailed in a recent Denver Post article, Grimsinger suffers from PTSD related to stepping on a landmine in Afghanistan. Numerous studies, including a 2007 study in the Journal of Traumatic Stress, have found that marijuana can be an effective treatment for severe PTSD symptoms—a condition suffered by 20 percent of soldiers returning home from Iraq and Afghanistan, according to 2008 RAND Corporation study.
Despite such findings, earlier this year, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment actively lobbied members of the state legislature to oppose an amendment that would have allowed individuals diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder to have access to medical marijuana, if they have a recommendation from a psychiatrist.
In 2009, the New Mexico Department of Health added PTSD to the list of qualifying conditions for medical marijuana patients in that state after a recommendation of approval from an advisory board of eight medical practitioners, who examined the evidence and determined that the use of marijuana by patients with PTSD could be a beneficial treatment option, if used in accordance with a recommendation from a psychiatrist.