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New Qualifying Conditions Rejected

Arizona PTSD Marijuana

In January of this year, petitions were submitted Arizona Department of Health Services to
add PTSD 1, PTSD 2, Depression, Migraines, and Generalized Anxiety Disorder among
others, to the list of Qualifying Conditions for a Marijuana Card in Arizona.

To help with the decision, the ADHS contracted with the University of Arizona to review
all current published scientific studies related to the use of marijuana in treating the petitioned
conditions. What did they come up with? According to the U of A, “The most relevant
literature generally was of low or very low quality and no conclusions can be drawn about the
benefits or harms of marijuana use for the treatment of PTSD.” They drew similar conclusions
for Migraines, General Anxiety Disorder and Depression. You can read U of A’s reviews at

So in reality, they didn’t tell us anything we didn’t know already: There has not been enough
clinical research done to make a case for or against marijuana. In addition to the petitions,
the State also received many informal accounts from people that have had positive results
treating their symptoms using marijuana. The ultimate decision to add the new conditions to
the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act rested with Will Humble, the Director of the ADHS.
In late July, Director Humble rejected all petitions to add new conditions. He told the Arizona
Republic “There’s just not the scientific evidence out there yet to support permanently adding
any of the conditions to the qualified list, at least right now. I recognize there’s a real shortage
of studies and data that’s out there. You base your policy decisions on science and research, and
not ideology or a predetermined political point of view.”

However, Humble did give some hope to patients suffering from migraines. He went on to say
“Migraines is probably already on the list if it causes severe and chronic pain, which it does in a
lot of patients. Migraine headaches are, by their definition, severe. The question is, at what point
does a clinician think they’re chronic as well? A typical clinical presentation could easily qualify
a patient for a card if a clinician really thought that was the best or appropriate treatment.”

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