On July 22nd, the Colorado Board of Health rejected a bid to add Post Traumatic Stress Disorder to the list of debilitating conditions suitable for medical marijuana, for the third time in a row. It might have been different this time because the state’s chief medical officer recommended adding PTSD to the list, but it was not meant to be. The board rejected the proposal with a 6-2 vote to the dismay of the patients and veterans who testified.
Why did they shut it down? The president of the board cited a lack of scientific evidence. To which I say no shit Sherlock, you get a gold star! Of course there is a lack of robust scientific evidence because the United States Government has been systematically BLOCKING MEDICAL RESEARCH SINCE THE CONTROLLED SUBSTANCES ACT BECAME LAW IN 1970! Of course there’s a lack of evidence. The drug war outlawed the creation of evidence.
The worst part is the board’s broad strokes of reductionist reasoning to the detriment of science. According to them, “Medical Marijuana” is all the same thing with no accounting for strain types, cannabinoid differences, processing or method of consumption. If Colorado’s state sponsored study finds no significant benefit from inhaling high THC smoke for PTSD, that doesn’t prove that ingesting high CBD oil would have no benefit.
The board should have seen this as an opportunity to gather the needed evidence instead of rejecting the notion outright. If PTSD were added, the state could have gathered evidence on which products or strains were consumed for PTSD or which methods of consumption correlate to better or worse patient outcomes. Long-term comparisons could have been drawn between medical marijuana and the VA’s prescription/treatment algorithm in terms of suicide risk. But, no. Instead, people using marijuana for PTSD will be lumped into “Chronic Pain” and all of those valuable data will be lost.
It’s almost like the board believes that if they don’t list PTSD as a condition, then people just won’t use marijuana to treat PTSD, and that is a prohibitionist argument. By the same reasoning, if we make marijuana illegal then no one will smoke it. Anyone who understands the 21st amendment knows how false that is. It’s the same unscientific reasoning that lead to the whole “lack of evidence” problem in the first place and it assures that there will continue to be a lack of evidence in the future. It’s not like anyone’s reputation was on the line because they DO NOT have randomized, double-blind clinical trials for the other listed conditions already approved. They’re not the FDA and they should stop acting like it.
Had the board approved PTSD as a condition and began to study patients who listed PTSD, the state might have deduced the chemistry and administration method most effective for PTSD treatment. They also might have found whether or not medical marijuana use decreases suicide risk compared to VA prescribed medications. Instead, patients are left on their own to figure it out for themselves. Someone yelled “blood on your hands” at the board after the decision was announced. But is there really blood on their hands? It appears they’d rather not find out.