Albany, NY — The New York State Senate on Tuesday passed legislation sponsored by Senator Diane Savino (D-SI/Brooklyn) to add Post Traumatic Stress Disorder to the list of qualifying conditions treatable with medical marijuana in New York State.

“This bill will bring real relief to the many New Yorkers suffering from PTSD.  Veterans, victims of violent crime, police and firefighters and others can all potentially benefit from PTSD being added to the list of medical conditions eligible for the State’s medical cannabis program.  This will help ensure that more of those suffering are eligible to become certified medical cannabis patients, and will allow each doctor to treat their patients as they see fit.  I thank my colleagues in both Houses for passing this on a bipartisan basis,” said Senator Savino.

“Allowing individuals to relieve PTSD with medical marijuana is a sensible and compassionate policy,” said Assembly Health Committee Chair and lead Assembly sponsor Richard N. Gottfried.“Prescription medications currently approved for PTSD are not effective for many patients, and have dangerous side effects. This bill has strong, bipartisan support, and I look forward to the Governor signing the bill.”

Assemblyman Gottfried passed companion legislation which earlier passed the Assembly. Both Senator Savino and Assemblyman Gottfried passed New York’s Compassionate Care Act.

It is estimated that 19,000 New York State residents suffer from PTSD.

PTSD symptoms include anger, flashbacks, nightmares, night sweats, insomnia and avoidance, after a person experiences a traumatic event. Women are twice as likely as men to experience PTSD.

Studies show that PTSD occurs when an a person has an endocannabinoid deficiency, and with patients who have PTSD the body stops producing enough endocannabinoids to fill receptor sites. According to research, cannabinoids found in marijuana can play a therapeutic role for these patients.

Veterans groups praised its passage.

“PTSD is a serious problem facing New York’s veterans,” said Bob Becker, legislative director for the New York State Council of Veterans Organizations.  “We applaud the legislature for passing this legislation, and urge Governor Cuomo to sign it.”

“This is a sensible step forward for New Yorkers who suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress.  Veterans in this population can now discuss this option with caregivers attuned to their needs.  Medical Marijuana and other emerging treatments continue to provide options for ensuring that those who have sacrificed for our Country are offered the best options,”said Dan McSweeney, Veterans’ Advocate and Founder of the We Are Listening Campaign.



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