Colorado medical marijuana advocates and a group of local veterans filed a petition with the state health department yesterday that would add post-traumatic stress disorder to the list of qualifying conditions for medical marijuana in Colorado.
The petition was formally filed by Army veteran and double amputee Kevin Grimsinger, who lost parts of both legs and suffered other injuries after stepping on a landmine in Afghanistan in 2001. That episode has also left him stricken with PTSD. From Denver Post columnist Susan Greene:
That means flashbacks. It means struggling to sleep and thinking about suicide more often than he cares to admit. His nightmares are constant, he says. "They're bloody, they're noisy and they're gory."
After two years in hospitals, Grimsinger was released addicted "to every pain medication known to man," he tells me. It wasn't until turning to therapeutic cannabis, along with other prescriptions, that he says he has been able to function. Medical marijuana doesn't take away his trauma. But it gives him a break long enough to sleep.
We’ve written previously about studies showing how marijuana can alleviate the symptoms of PTSD, how New Mexico has already added it to that state’s list of qualifying conditions, and how some Colorado officials and even the Department of Veterans Affairs have thus far opposed efforts to make medical marijuana available to PTSD patients and other veterans in need.
As Sensible Colorado’s Brian Vicente, who helped file the petition, told Denver’s Westword: “We've been hearing from veterans for years who have been injured in the line of duty protecting our country and have PTSD related to that. And they're concerned about the lack of veteran access for medical marijuana for PTSD. Currently, veterans face criminal prosecution for possessing or using medical marijuana to alleviate any sort of medical condition, and we just think that's unconscionable. People who have served our country deserve the best access to health care possible, and we want to make sure Kevin and folks like him have that access.”