PTSD, other diseases not added to medical marijuana list
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder will not qualify New Yorkers for medical marijuana — at least not yet, the state health department said Monday.
Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker determined there was not enough evidence of effectiveness to allow medical marijuana be prescribed for PTSD, Alzheimer’s disease, muscular dystrophy, dystonia and rheumatoid arthritis, five conditions the law required him to consider within 18 months of the bill being signed into law.
Scientists and physicians at the state Department of Health analyzed more than two dozen scientific studies on whether medical marijuana would help people suffering from these diseases, according to a health department spokesman.
The commissioner, however, can add any condition at any time and Zucker will meet with specialists during the next month to evaluate new scientific evidence as it becomes available, the spokesman said.
Assemblyman Richard Gottfried, who sponsored the medical marijuana bill Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed into law 18 months ago, said he was frustrated by the commissioner's inaction.
"The law or the health commissioner don't tell doctors what diseases are appropriate for any other drug," Gottfried said in an email. "We really should not have an official list for medical marijuana."
The state's medical marijuana program launched last week and there are 10 conditions for which patients can use the drug: cancer, HIV/AIDS, Lou Gehrig's Disease, Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis, damage to the nervous tissue of the spinal cord with objective neurological indication of intractable spasticity, epilepsy, inflammatory bowel disease, neuropathy or Huntington's disease.
Patients must also have one of the following associated conditions: cachexia or wasting syndrome, severe or chronic pain, severe nausea, seizures or severe or persistent muscle spasms.