Despite having one of the most restrictive programs in the nation, New York has recently expanded their list of approved conditions for medical cannabis use. In an article originally published by Debra Borchardt of Forbes, this expanded patient access to medical cannabis is made evident.
After carefully reviewing other states’ applications of medical cannabis and prominent medical issues, the New York Senate Health Committee has recommended that PTSD be added to the program’s list of treatable conditions. This recommendation was produced in the form of a bill, one that was carefully produced with bi-partisan support.
Michael Krowitz, executive director of Veterans for Medical Access, is extremely pleased with the recent actions of the state legislature. In a recent statement, Krowitz notes, “I am grateful to the Senate Health Committee for advancing this compassionate bill, and on behalf of countless veterans who could benefit, I urge the full Senate to promptly approve the bill. Veterans with PTSD should not have to choose between FDA-approved medications that carry a black box suicide warning and off-label drugs with no clinical efficacy and horrible side effects.”
While PTSD is a condition which has been affecting veterans for decades, the conditions has only recently received recognition in contemporary medicine. Combat veterans suffer from PTSD in record rates, making this bill a huge victory for patient access going forward. Krowitz notes, “Medical marijuana has helped veterans have a restful night’s sleep instead of night terrors, and thus experience a better quality of life.”
While lawmakers seem committed to adding PTSD to the program’s list of treatable symptoms, some have seen this as an opportunity to go even further. Recently, Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal introduced a bill which would include menstrual pain to the list as well.
Rosenthal’s bill has not received overwhelming political support like the PTSD bill, but this does not mean that it is a long shot. In fact, her bill has the potential to use much of the star power generated by notable actress and public figure Whoopi Goldberg.
Whoopi Goldberg and her partner Maya Elisabeth have already created a line of cannabis-infused products designed to help women treat menstrual pain. These products include a bath soak, tincture, and edible items.
While New York recently added chronic pain to the list of approved conditions for medical cannabis, legislatures do not currently include menstrual pain within this category. This lack of classification has been a proactive issue for Goldberg, who looks to use her power to help the push for patient access in New York. Goldberg notes, “It seems so odd to me, but then I look at the folks who’ve created the bills and they aren’t people who would be dealing with periods.” She then follows this up by stating, “I’m going to try. I strongly believe that I can help them understand why this is not a high.”
The recent push for PTSD and menstrual pain are indicative of the larger fight for patient access taking place in states with medical cannabis programs. While many states are still very restrictive with their programs, patients suffering from a variety of medical conditions across have made it clear that they do not plan to stop their push for medical cannabis.[Source]