On Wednesday, against all odds, New Jersey Gov. Christie approved a bill that permits patients suffering from PTSD, or post-traumatic stress disorder, to consume medical marijuana when traditional medicine provides no help. So, it means that marijuana and PTSD have become closely related. Patients with PTSD along with their advocates had lobbied for this bill for more than a year, citing the statistics that show a high rate of suicide among military veterans with this disease. Previously, Christie claimed he was not going to expand the medical marijuana program. However, something seems to have pushed him to change his mind.
In 2014, his administration turned down the petition to add post-traumatic stress disorder to the list of qualifying medical conditions for legal medical marijuana use. But in August, a bipartisan bill was placed on Christie’s desk, and he signed it explaining his change of heart. He cited the statistics published by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs showing that 20 percent of military veterans who had fought in Afghanistan and Iraq over the last ten years suffered from PTSD. Christie also noted that throughout the country, profound studies on PTSD were being conducted, and the government was trying to increase the access of the patients to traditional medicines and treatments, like psychotherapy and antidepressant medications. The bill, in its turn, is going to permit the veterans suffering from PTSD to use medical marijuana only in case a physician or psychiatrist confirms that conventional therapy is not helpful for said patient.
What is PTSD?
PTSD is a mental health disease that is triggered by some traumatic event, like physical or sexual assault, physical abuse, exposure to combat, a natural disaster or another life-threatening event. Symptoms of PTSD can be different, from flashbacks and nightmares to deep anxiety, stress, and suicidal thoughts. Some patients can experience uncontrollable thoughts about what caused their disease. Nowadays, many PTSD patients use medical marijuana, but with a risk of being fined or charged with a felony. The new bill is going to give them the legal background for purchasing and consuming the required medicine.