Military Vets Petition for Medical Marijuana Use for PTSD

Marijuana Military

Cannabis advocates on Wednesday filed a petition to include post-traumatic stress disorder on the Colorado's list of medical-marijuana-approved conditions.

The petition argues that medical marijuana can help with PTSD – especially in veterans – by easing depression, anxiety and nightmares. The petition was formally filed at the state health department by Kevin Grimsinger, an Army veteran and double amputee who said he lost his legs after stepping on a land mine in 2001 in Afghanistan.

"Medical marijuana helps me in so many ways, it's letting me eat and letting me sleep. It changed my life," Grimsinger said.

Grimsinger, along with dozens of supporters, including Rep. Joe Miklosi (D-Denver), joined the Sensible Colorado Organization at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) Wednesday in an effort to add PTSD to the list.

"We think it's fundamentally wrong that people that have served this country and laid their lives on the line don't get the option. They deserve access to any medical marijuana treatment option," said Brian Vicente with the Sensible Colorado Organization.

Colorado voters in 2000 approved a constitutional amendment allowing for the use of medical marijuana for eight conditions. The amendment also creates a petition process by which more conditions can be approved.

Grimsinger's petition will be reviewed by Ned Calonge, the state's chief medical officer, who will determine within 180 days whether it warrants a public hearing before the state Board of Health. If the board gives the OK, doctors would be able to write marijuana recommendations for PTSD.

Four previous petitions – for Parkinson's disease, anxiety, asthma and bipolar disorder – were denied for lack of a scientific basis. The PTSD petition cites multiple studies that suggest marijuana can be beneficial to PTSD patients.

State Rep. Joe Miklosi, a Denver Democrat who supports the petition, said that should be enough to prompt a public hearing.

"I think we need to get past some of the taboo, some of the stereotypes, and look at objective analysis and data to help these people. I think it goes without saying that they've sacrificed a lot, lets give them a fair shake. All we're asking for is a fair shot, a fair hearing and review process," he said.

The CDPHE now has 120 days to determine whether the issue will get a public hearing and then an additional 60 days to accept or deny it.