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Arizona Considers Allowing Medical Marijuana For PTSD, Anxiety, Migraines, And Depression


Arizona State CapitalMore good news for the Arizona Medical Marijuana Program on 4-20 as Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) Director, Will Humble, announced on his blog:

“The voter approved language in the AZ Medical Marijuana Act directs us to periodically accept and evaluate petitions to add new debilitating medical conditions. We’ve made it through the first phase of considering whether to add 4 new debilitating conditions 1) Post Traumatic Stress Disorder; 2) Generalized Anxiety Disorder; 3) Migraines; and 4) Depression.”

If ADHS approves these new conditions, Arizona would become the first state to allow medical marijuana for anxiety and depression, join New Mexico and Delaware in allowing medical marijuana for PTSD, and be the second state after California to permit cannabis for migraines.

Director Humble went on to say, “you’ll be able to give us your thoughts about these four conditions at a public hearing next month (May 25th from 1 — 4 p.m. at our State Lab). You can read the information we already have about these four starting next week. If we decide to add PTSD or any other debilitating conditions, we want to make sure we’re on solid medical ground. I’m heading down to a conference in Tucson next weekend where physicians can get Continuing Medical Education credits for learning about medical cannabis.”

ADHS Director Will HumbleThe public hearing is one step in the process laid out in the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act (AMMA), and the administrative rules promulgated by ADHS for adding debilitating conditions. ADHS accepted requests to add new conditions from January 23 to January 27. ADHS anticipates accepting additional requests during July 2012, but has not yet announced the specific application window.

Requests to add new conditions must include:

  • The name of the medical condition the entity is requesting be added.
  • A description of the symptoms and other physiological effects experienced by an individual suffering from the medical condition or a treatment of the medical condition that may impair the ability of the individual to accomplish activities of daily living
  • The availability of conventional medical treatments to provide therapeutic or palliative benefit for the medical condition or a treatment of the medical condition
  • A summary of the evidence that the use of marijuana will provide therapeutic or palliative benefit for the medical condition or a treatment of the medical condition; and
  • Articles, published in peer-reviewed, scientific journals, reporting the results of research on the effects of marijuana on the medical condition or a treatment of the medical condition supporting why the medical condition should be added.

Once an entity submits an application “ADHS will notify the requester within 30 days that the request was received. An initial review will be conducted to determine if the information provided in the request provides evidence that:

  • The specified medical condition or treatment of the medical condition impairs the ability of the individual to accomplish activities of daily living, and
  • Marijuana usage provides a therapeutic or palliative benefit to an individual suffering from the medical condition or treatment of the medical condition.”

Once a request passes initial muster, ADHS schedules a public hearing (as is happening on May 25). ADHS relies in part on the University of Arizona, Colleges of Public Health and Medicines to review the requests. According to a fact sheet posted on the ADHS website, “the University will be able to provide ADHS valuable support, including further research of each condition or treatment and summary reports with recommendations by accessing its extensive public health and medical expertise.” ADHS will either add the medical condition or provide the requester written notice of denial including “specific reasons for the denial and the process for requesting judicial review” within 180 days of the original request.

All residents of Arizona should consider this an opportunity to help their neighbors receive the relief they deserve. Cannabis is a sublime herb, with innumerable benefits. If you are a doctor, nurse, professor, patient, caregiver, or someone suffering from PTSD, depression, anxiety, or migraines, please attend the public hearing, and help guide ADHS in doing the right thing for the people of Arizona.


About Author

I'm an Attorney, Activist, Chef, and Gardener--poking holes in the media filter that obscures the truth about ganja in this country daily.


  1. I have bi polar disorder and severe depression, I smoke and it keeps me off of all the medication with debilitating side effects, I was on lithium carbonate from the time I was teenager and I suffered highly from its effects, it has changed my life. If it were accessible to those with similar issues it would be a god send.

  2. Definetly better than Benzos…..rehab twice on Xanax, and they still give me valium the minute i get out….LOL….just let me smoke a joint….

  3. When states allow medical marijuana for pain, they are not explicitly allowing it for migraines. For example, Arizona currently allows medical marijuana for chronic pain, but is considering adding migraines. If chronic pain automatically included migraines, there would be no point in adding migraines would there? On California, you are correct that doctors have broad discretion in recommending medical marijuana for conditions beyond those expressly allowed, but again, California expressly allows migraines, despite the broad discretion given doctors. What matters most in this case is that Arizona residents know about the hearing on May 25th.

    I was not meaning to be rude in any way. The page to which I directed you is an up-to-date breakdown of the allowed conditions by state. And friend, I am not your enemy. I work tirelessly everyday in support of this movement. I understand your desire to have the last word, and punctuate your point, but enemies we are not. Also, I have read your articles, and they are quite good. Keep up the good work, and please seek out chances to treat others better than they have treated you. 

  4. What does any of what you said have to do with anything I said?

    I said Arizona is not the first state to allow marijuana for anxiety and depression, that California was (15 years ago).  I also said Arizona was not the first state to authorize it for migraines – that in 2009 every state except Arizona authorized it for pain. (Except Maryland, which doesn’t explicitly allow it for anything but does allow a medical defense in court.)

    You have convinced me you really don’t have a clue what you’re talking about.

    And it’s very rude of you to tell me to go look at Marijuana Pro/Con (a fine site that I cite frequently) and not quote what I’m supposed to see.

    With friends like this, who needs enemies?

  5. “If ADHS approves these new conditions, Arizona would become the first state to allow medical marijuana for anxiety and depression…”

    About 30% of medical marijuana patients in California use it for psychiatric conditions:
    Of those 847 using cannabis as a psychotherapeutic, 44% (369) used it as an anti-depressant while 56% (478) used it as an anxiolytic.  Of the 847, 36% used it for depression, 31% for PTSD, 17% for anxiety, and 8% for bi-polar condition.  From the total pool of 3,000 medical marijuana patients this works out to: 10% for depression, 9% for PTSD, 5% for anxiety, 2% for bi-polar, and 2% for other psychiatric conditions. 


  6. I am a 100% disabled vet diagnosed with PTSD, Anxiety, Depression, OCD and Panic. I can not stress enough the efficacy of Cannabis when compared to SSRIs, Benzos, TCAs and SNRIs. I highly encourage the State of Arizona to integrate these new psychiatric disorders to the current list of medical conditions. 

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