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State Panel Discusses Expanding Medical Marijuana Conditions

Posted at 10:28 PM, Aug 06, 2013
and last updated 2013-08-06 22:58:54-04

LANSING, Mich.- PTSD and insomnia may be added as conditions eligible a medical marijuana card after a state panel debate Tuesday.

Four total conditions- asthma, autism, PTSD and insomnia- were brought before a state panel, but asthma and autism were voted down after several petitions were discussed.

Right now, the current law, approved back in 2008 allows people suffering from debilitating conditions like cancer, glaucoma and HIV to be eligible for a Medical Marijuana Card.

David Rios is one of the thousands of veterans in America haunted by post-traumatic stress disorder.  His helicopter was shot down while serving in the 174th Aviation Company in 1970.  Rios suffered spinal damage in that crash that still causes him chronic pain today.

That pain had him seeking out medical marijuana, and he says it helps him quite a bit.

“I’ll use medical marijuana just for a little bit and just stay in that quiet place until things get back in focus again so Idon’t seem to be so on edge,” Rios said.

Dr. Robert Townsend agrees, saying it could help Rios and others like him.

“For many of the people who are acutely suffering from PTSD, the suicide rate is very, very high,” Townsend said. “They simply cannot deal with the experiences of watching their buddies killed in a war situation or a child die in a car accident.”

Dr. Townsend says it helps those suffering with PTSD sleep and helps quiet some of the intrusive thoughts.

“It significantly improves their quality of life,” Townsend said.

Now, Rios hopes medical marijuana can help his fellow Vietnam veterans still suffering from PTSD and young veterans just returning home about to face the same struggles.

However, Townsend warns this may not be the cure for everyone suffering from PTSD, military and non-military alike.

“On the downside it does tend to increase the effectiveness of their cognitive therapy,” Townsend said.

Dr. Robert Townsend on Medical Marijuana and Insomnia:

Dr. Robert Townsend on Medical Marijuana and Asthma: