Minnesota’s Department of Health has announced that it’s expanding the state’s list of qualifying medical cannabis conditions to include post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Minnesota now joins New Jersey, Michigan, California, Illinois, Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Massachusetts, New Mexico, Arizona, Washington, Rhode Island and Oregon as states that allow those with PTSD to legally use medical cannabis. Among those New Jersey is the most recent to add PTSD as a qualifying condition, with Governor Chris Christie signing legislation in September following a petition garnering nearly 20,000 signatures in a few weeks.
The move to allow medical cannabis for PTSD is supported by a large amount of research, including, a government-funded study released in 2014 using human trials found that “the cannabinoid system may serve as a promising target for innovative intervention strategies (e.g. pharmacological enhancement of exposure-based therapy) in PTSD and other fear learning-related disorders.”
A separate study released in 2015 found that; “When inhaled or delivered orally or transdermally, cannabinoids (the psychoactive components of unrefined marijuana and various derivative products) activate endogenous cannabinoid receptors, modulating neurotransmitter release and producing a wide range of central nervous system effects, including increased pleasure and alteration of memory processes…. Those effects provide a pharmacologic rationale for the use of cannabinoids to manage the three core PTSD symptom clusters: reexperiencing, avoidance and numbing, and hyperarousal.”
Unfortunately the Department of Health rejected petitions to add autism spectrum disorders, arthritis and depression as qualifying medical cannabis conditions. Department of Health Commissioner Ed Ehlinger said there wasn’t enough evidence surrounding the treatment of these conditions with medical cannabis.
“PTSD was the only one that really came close to meeting my threshold,” says Ehlinger. “There’s widespread agreement among medical experts on the need for improving existing PTSD treatments.”