Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
In my last blog I talked about the aspects of the medical cannabis card application process which were common to all the 16 qualifying conditions. Starting with this week’s edition, I will describe each of the conditions and any specific regulations which the DOH has formulated for that particular condition.
This blog will be devoted to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) which is the only mental health condition accepted by New Mexico as a qualifying condition for the medical cannabis program. Patients with this qualifying condition comprise the largest single group
of medical cannabis patients.
PTSD has the special requirement that the diagnosis must be made by either a psychiatrist (MD) or psychiatric certified nurse practitioner. If it is made by any other type of practitioner such as a psychologist (PhD), social worker, counselor or even a medical doctor who is not a psychiatrist, the application will be immediately rejected. In fact, the application must be accompanied by either a medical record or a letter verifying the diagnosis of PTSD which has been signed by the psychiatrist (or the psychiatric certified nurse practitioner).
Sometimes the diagnosing practitioner will also sign the state form for certifying the patient for the medical cannabis program. More often they will not. This is not a problem, for as long as the documentation of the diagnosis accompanies the application, any medical practitioner certified to prescribe medications under the controlled substances act (narcotics) can sign the cannabis evaluation form.
We have received many phone calls from patients with PTSD who believe they were diagnosed with the condition by a psychiatrist when in fact they were not. If you do not have the medical documentation in your possession to check this, then please Google name of the practitioner and check his credentials.
As is true for the other qualifying conditions, the DOH requires that patients first try and fail standard medical therapies before applying for the cannabis program, There is no exception for PTSD, so you cannot be diagnosed and recommended by a practitioner at the same time, you have to try some therapies and give them a chance to work.
Medical cannabis is an excellent treatment for PTSD and has made a real difference in the quality of life for many people. Not only is it useful in treating the anxiety, depression, nightmares, intrusive memories, hypervigilence and social isolation which characterize the syndrome, it may actually work to blur the memory of the precipitating event..