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Researcher: Big Pharma is behind Colorado’s rejection of medical marijuana for PTSD

By Oscar Pascual |

American veterans and PTSD sufferers have taken yet another blow as Colorado recently rejected Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder as a qualifying condition for access to medical marijuana.

The state’s Board of Health voted 6-2 on Thursday against adding PTSD to the list of accepted conditions to qualify for their medical marijuana program, reports the Denver Westword.

“The humanity presented today isn’t what we’re ignoring. The presentations were very convincing, very intriguing,” District Four board member Dr. Tony Cappello told several petitioners present at the board meeting. “It’s further justification for the research that we need.”

Researcher Susan Sisley, who was recently given approval by various federal agencies to research the effects of marijuana on PTSD, was also at last week’s board hearing.

“Overall, it was a heartbreaking day for these veterans/PTSD sufferers who came to testify,” Sisley told the Westword. “Even more painful because they entered the facility feeling highly optimistic…given that the majority of the revered Colorado Scientific Advisory Council had recommended adding PTSD.”

The decision was likely made due to the fact that anxiety disorders such as PTSD are better treated with pot’s psychoactive compound THC, rather that its medicinal counterpart CBD, according to research from Yale associate professor of psychiatry R. Andrew Sewell. Despite the existence of medical marijuana laws in 23 states, only five list PTSD as a qualifying condition.

But Sisley believes the pharmaceutical industry might have a hand in the board’s decision, where only two out of over 50 speakers in attendance testified against using marijuana for PTSD.

“Several members who voted ‘no’ cited the fact that APA and other organized medicine groups oppose this initiative,” Sisley told the Westword. “I am concerned that these organized medicine groups are heavily influenced by big Pharma….. Obviously, Pharma has a vested interest in suppressing these initiatives because they have the potential to harm their ‘business model.'”

While one of the state’s representatives have offered to run another pot for PTSD bill through the state’s Legislature, Sisley believes it’s time to go to court.

“I think the best approach is probably to go through the court system, as we did successfully in Arizona,” Sisley told the Westword. “So look for a court case this fall.”

Photo credit: Flickr.com/ob1