Oregon begins allowing medical marijuana for PTSD
SALEM, Ore. (AP) Some Oregon lawmakers had said they feared that allowing medical marijuana cardholders to use pot for post-traumatic stress disorder would lead to widespread abuse, but the initial signup doesn't bear that out.
The law went into effect Jan. 1, and applicants had 90 days before that to apply. Fewer than 100 have, the Salem Statesman Journal reported.
"We can't provide an exact number because it's low enough to where we risk identifying people," said Jonathan Modie, spokesman for the Oregon Health Authority.
"Applications are slow," he said. "There hasn't been a rush."
PTSD is an anxiety disorder often associated with military veterans. It's the 10th qualifying condition for the use of medical marijuana in Oregon. Only a few states that allow medical marijuana allow it for PTSD.
Republican Sen. Brian Boquist of Dallas co-sponsored the Oregon bill. He said using medical pot for PTSD is a temporary measure that could alleviate symptoms in the short term, while long-term treatments are developed.
"The federal VA has been struggling for years with its depression and mental health procedures ... They have, or had, simply placed veterans on a variety of drugs as it was a cheap answer," Boquist said. "As they move away from this type of policy to a treatment policy, the number of veterans requiring drugs will decrease, hopefully."
The federal government classifies marijuana as a Schedule I controlled substance, which means it doesn't recognize any medical uses. However, the Department of Veterans Affairs allows patients to use medical marijuana in states where it's legal and prescribed by other clinicians.
Boquist said several constituents who are veterans asked for the provision, "but at no point did I think it would be very widespread."
Information from: Statesman Journal