This past weekend, we got the news that New York adds PTSD to the list of qualifying conditions for medical marijuana. Does this mean that New York is making their medical cannabis program more extensive and, well, better?
A Veterans Day Miracle
Over the weekend, the governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo, did a good deed. He signed legislation that officially added post-traumatic stress disorder to the roster of qualifying conditions for medical marijuana. For those unfamiliar with New York’s medical marijuana program, it’s fairly rigid in terms of who can have access to it. Before this weekend, the qualifying conditions were:
- Parkinson’s disease
- Inflammatory Bowel Disease
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Huntington’s disease
- Chronic pain
Seems pretty restrictive, doesn’t it? But now, the governor of New York adds PTSD to the list of qualifying conditions. When he signed, Governor Cuomo noted that almost 20,000 New York residents with PTSD could successfully treat their illness with cannabis. The timing of the addition is also meaningful. After all, this past weekend was Veterans Day. There are countless veterans living with PTSD. And due to the federal criminalization of cannabis, the Veterans Affairs doctors are forbidden from recommending medical marijuana to alleviate it. Or any of the other myriad ailments that cannabis can treat.
Governor Cuomo acknowledged this. In addition to the addition of PTSD to the list of qualifying conditions for medical marijuana, he signed additional legislature to benefit veterans, like more paid time off for those employed by New York State and also a measure to eliminate the civil service test fee for veterans who received an honorable discharge.
PTSD and Pot
When we talk about PTSD, it’s important to note that it can affect anyone. While many soldiers and veterans have it, it’s not only soldiers and veterans who have it. And, of course, a PTSD diagnosis doesn’t make a person “weak”, no matter what Donald Trump says. Mental illness does not discriminate, so it’s critical that we not only work to treat mental illness but also to eliminate the stigma that is attached to it.
Post-traumatic stress disorder is a chronic and prolonged reaction to a traumatic event. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, PTSD can cause flashbacks, problems sleeping, cognitive issues and other symptoms.
Over the past few years, doctors and researchers have been exploring treating PTSD with P-O-T. So far, the research pointed in the direction that yes, cannabis can indeed help alleviate the symptoms of PTSD. And so, states with medical marijuana programs have been adding this disorder to their lists of qualifying conditions. Now, New York has officially joined those states!
Final Hit: New York Adds PTSD To List Of MMJ Qualifying Conditions
While it’s great that Governor Cuomo added PTSD to the list of qualifying conditions, the medical marijuana program in New York is still far from ideal. As it stands, the only forms of medical cannabis that one may legally purchase are topicals, capsules and liquids. Flowers and edibles are not legal. And the medicine is expensive, which leads to many people choosing to purchase it illegally. To truly revamp New York’s medical marijuana program, these issues need to be addressed and remedied.