Georgians with PTSD can now use medical marijuana, but it’s still illegal to buy it

Georgians with PTSD can now use medical marijuana, but it’s still illegal to buy it
Georgia legalized the use and possession of cannabis oil for treatment of PTSD, but did not legalize the purchase, transport or growing of cannabis. The law goes into effect July 1. (Jack Guez/AFP/ Getty Images)

Georgia adopted a law legalizing the use of medical marijuana to treat post-traumatic stress disorder and intractable pain, but the state’s laws still don’t allow patients to legally purchase it, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

House Bill 65, signed into law Monday, expanded the list of conditions eligible for treatment by medical marijuana. However, state law still bans the growing, buying, or transporting of marijuana, which means patients have no way of obtaining it.

What’s the story?

The law, which goes into effect July 1, adds PTSD and intractable pain to the list of conditions that may be treated by “low-THC oil,” also known as cannabis oil.

Cannabis oil will be allowed for patients over the age of 18 diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder “resulting from the direct exposure to or the witnessing of a trauma.”

Intractable pain is defined in the law as “pain that has a cause that cannot be removed and for which, according to generally accepted medical practice, the full range of pain management modalities appropriate for the patient has been used for a period of at least six months without adequate results or with intolerable side effects.”

The law also establishes the Joint Study Commission on Low THC Medical Oil Access, which will “study the in-state access of medical cannabis and low THC oil.”

What was the impact on veterans?

The House Veterans Affairs Committee took steps toward increased research on medical marijuana as a treatment for veterans who suffer from PTSD, The Hill reported.

The committee passed a measure that could be voted on in coming weeks that would give the Department of Veterans Affairs more ability to research medical marijuana, and require the agency to report findings regularly to Congress.

Federal law currently prohibits the VA from prescribing medical marijuana, although former VA Secretary David Shulkin expressed an openness to its use as a PTSD treatment.

Veterans are allowed to disclose marijuana use to VA medical providers without fear of jeopardizing benefits, but VA medical staff cannot prescribe or recommend medical marijuana, nor can VA pharmacies fill medical marijuana prescriptions.