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PTSD, insomnia patients urge state panel to allow use of medical marijuana

Jake Neher/MPRN

Melody Karr says doctors have told her cannabis might not be helpful for the posttraumatic stress she’s suffered since her husband’s grisly suicide. She says they’re wrong in assuming side-effects such as forgetfulness could interfere with talk-therapy.

“The problem is not that I can’t think or talk about my post-traumatic stress and the issues related to it. The problem is that I can’t stop thinking or talking about it.”

A state advisory board heard overwhelming testimony Thursday in favor of approving medical marijuana for patients suffering from posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and insomnia. The board is considering a number of ailments not already included under Michigan’s voter-approved medical marijuana law.

Speaker Charmie Gholson told the board she’s been suffering from PTSD for almost 40 years.

“Listen to these people. Please listen to the patients. We know our own bodies. We actually do know what’s best for us. We know our own symptoms and which treatments are effective. Please put aside the presumption that we don’t really know what’s best for us.”

Last month, the advisory board voted against adding asthma and autism to the list of acceptable conditions. Some medical marijuana advocates took exception to those votes, because the panel had not heard public testimony on those conditions.

Panel chair Matthew Davis said public comment was not necessary because the ailments had already been considered by a previous board.

That board was dissolved by the state earlier this year because officials said it had not been properly appointed. They say it did not have proper representation from state-appointed medical experts.

At the time, attorney and medical marijuana activist Matthew Abel said the reconstituted board seemed to have the same problem in its membership.

The state has since appointed another member, and says the problem has been resolved.

The Michigan Medical Marihuana Review Panel will make its recommendations on PTSD and insomnia after it’s done collecting public comment on October 5th. Members say they do not yet have a specific date scheduled for those votes.

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