Arizona Judge Okays Medical Pot to Treat PTSD

By Shawn Dwyer 06/09/14

Judge Thomas Sheddon's decision in Arizona is a big step forward for medical marijuana proponents.

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An Arizona judge recently ruled that post-traumatic stress disorder should be added to the list of approved conditions that are allowed to be treated with medical marijuana.

Judge Thomas Shedden said that state Health Director William Humble acted illegally in denying a petition by the Arizona Cannabis Nurses Association (ACNA) last December to add PTSD to the list of ailments treated by medical weed. Judge Shedden cited Humble’s lack of scientific evidence backing his denial while stating that there is substantial evidence that those suffering from the disorder received a “palliative benefit from marijuana use."

Supporters applauded Judge Shedden’s decision, including Heather Manus, president of the ACNA. “Cannabis medicine is natural, gentle, non-toxic, and should be available to PTSD sufferers in Arizona,” she said.  “Many PTSD patients in neighboring states are successfully finding relief of symptoms through the use of cannabis.”

While the decision received widespread support, some were upset that Judge Shedden gave Humble till July 9 to make a decision on whether or not to accept, modify, or reject the ruling. Ricardo Pereyda, an Iraq War veteran who has used medical pot to treat his PTSD since 2010 and who testified at the hearings last December, was happy with the decision, but expressed his dismay over the month-long wait.

“What is it that you need to wait and see before that day that you haven’t seen in the past four days? Get it done. People are dying. And that’s not just veterans,” Pereyda said.

Still, Judge Sheddon’s decision was a big step forward and will hopefully push the federal government just a bit more toward accepting the reality of marijuana becoming legal.

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Shawn Dwyer is a writer, editor and content producer living in Los Angeles. You can find him on Linkedin.