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Bill to Add PTSD to NJ Medical Marijuana Program

By Rebecca McCurry 10/07/2014

In an effort to add posttraumatic stress disorder to the list of qualifying conditions for the New Jersey medical marijuana program, a bill was filed on Monday, September 22, 2014. Assembly Bill 3726 sponsored by Vincent Mazzeo and Linda Stender has been assigned to the Assembly Health and Senior Services Committee, which is chaired by Assemblyman Herb Conaway, retired U.S. Air Force Medical Corps captain. Although most legislation sessions in states have already ended for 2014, or are almost over, the session in New Jersey runs until the end of 2015.

To this day, there haven’t been any medications specifically designed or approved to target the symptoms associated with PTSD, which include nightmares, flashbacks, hyperarousal, anxiety, difficulty sleeping, and difficulty trusting anyone else. It is estimated that PTSD affects around 8-million Americans every year. Those with this anxiety disorder include military victims that have returned home from combat and victims of violent crimes such as rape.

Ken Wolski, Executive Director for the Coalition for Medical Marijuana New Jersey explained, “We have hoped that PTSD would be the first condition that would be added to qualify for marijuana therapy in New Jersey. PTSD is poorly managed by traditional pharmacologic intervention-22 veterans commit suicide every day here in the U.S. Our veterans deserve the best health care available, and that includes marijuana therapy. CMMNJ is committed to efforts to add PTSD and other mental and emotional conditions to the New Jersey list of qualifying conditions ASAP.”

Through domestic research, it has been discovered that medical marijuana can help treat PTSD. Researchers from the New York University School of University published their findings after a study that explained subjects with posttraumatic stress disorder experienced a decrease in the natural production of anandamine, which is a cannabinoid neurotransmitter.

Although it is unclear at this point if the bill will be passed, it is a still a significant step in the right direction to try to help individuals that suffer from posttraumatic stress disorder. We can only wait and see what happens in the near future, and hope that individuals with PTSD will soon experience relief.

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