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The Clinic: Arizona Adds PTSD to MedCan Conditions

Just a week after University of Arizona researcher Sue Sisley was fired from her job, effectively shutting down crucial, federally approved research into the potential of cannabis as a treatment for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), the state of Arizona officially added the condition to the list of qualifying conditions for medical marijuana. This makes Arizona the twelfth state to make the all-natural herbal remedy available to those suffering from PTSD, a chronic, debilitating condition that’s led to a suicide epidemic among America’s combat veterans.

“Today I issued a Director’s Decision that will authorize the use of marijuana … for patients currently undergoing conventional treatment for a diagnosis of PTSD,” Department of Health Services Director Will Humble, Arizona’s top health official, wrote in a blog post on the health department’s website. “Physician certifications would be valid only for the palliative care of PTSD symptoms (not treatment). Certifying physicians will be required to attest that they have reviewed evidence documenting that the patient is currently undergoing conventional treatment for PTSD before signing the medical marijuana certification.”

Humble reversed his own earlier decision to block PTSD sufferers from legally accessing medical marijuana after an administrative law judge recommended making the change. Ironically, Humble’s previous denial was based on a perceived “lack of evidence” that cannabis can safely and effectively treat PTSD. Or, basically, the exact kind of research Dr. Sue Sisley had planned before she got fired.

Sisley has since appealed her dismal, with a ruling still pending. In the meantime, the University of Arizona claims they want that research to go forward, only with someone else in charge.

“We’ve selected a faculty member in the College of Medicine, who has an extensive clinical trial experience and a record of scientific publications, and he has also done clinical trials with controlled substances and with veterans who have PTSD,” according to Chris Sigurdson, senior associate vice president at the university’s Relations Office.

But the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, the non-profit research organization that sponsored the research, says that if Sisley’s not reinstated, they’ll take the research to either Northern Arizona University of Arizona State University, with her in charge.

“We are not interested in working with other principal investigators that the university might propose to us, because they haven’t done the hard work for four years, like Sue has, to make the study happen,” said Rick Doblin, executive director and founder of MAPS.

To show your support for medical marijuana research and researchers, consider signing this online petition calling for Sisley to be reinstated as lead researcher for the study.

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