States where PTSD is approved for medical marijuana

Emily Gray Brosious

Published: Sept. 16, 2016 | Last update May 21, 2017

flag-marijuana-split-photo(Photo credits: [Flag] David McNew/Getty Images, [Marijuana plants] Uriel Sinai/Getty Images)

Lengthy campaigns pushing to secure medical cannabis access for patients diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder are taking hold as states across the country begin approving the condition for marijuana treatment.

In recent months, a series of states have added PTSD to their lists of medical cannabis-approved conditions. And just this week, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a longtime outspoken marijuana opponent, announced his approval of extending medical cannabis access to PTSD patients in the state.

While no large, randomized trials of medical cannabis treatment for PTSD have yet been completed in the United States, extensive anecdotal evidence exists to suggest cannabis effectively treats symptoms of the disorder.

And findings by researchers like Martin Lee, an affiliate with the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) and director of Project CBD, have shown endocannabinoid deficiency to be a major facet of PTSD.

“Scientists have determined that normal CB-1 receptor signaling deactivates traumatic memories and endows it with the gift of forgetting,” Lee said, “But skewed CB-1 signaling, due to endocannabinoid deficits (low serum levels of anandamide), results in impaired fear extinction, aversive memory consolidation, and chronic anxiety, the hallmarks of PTSD.”

Leafly breaks it down like this:

One pillar of PTSD is an endocannabinoid deficiency: the body stops producing enough endocannabinoids to fill receptor sites, and this is where the cannabinoids found in marijuana play a therapeutic role. By replenishing these missing endocannabinoids with those found in cannabis, researchers think marijuana pharmaceuticals might bring PTSD patients relief from their memories.

At least 23 out of 29 states and territories with comprehensive medical cannabis programs currently allow patients to use cannabis for the treatment or palliative care of PTSD.

Browse the following gallery to learn more about which states allow PTSD patients to access medical cannabis and how these laws vary between states.


Gallery: States where PTSD is approved for medical cannabis

*This gallery is updated on a rolling basis. If you notice any missing information, please tweet us @ExtractCannabis.

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Gallery source links: Arizona State Legislature, Ballotpedia, LeaflyCalifornia NORMLConnecticut Department of Consumer Protections, Delaware Health and Social Services, Ballotpedia, CBS Miami, Hawaii Department of Health, Illinois Department of Public Health, Maine Division of Public Health Services, Integr8 Health (Maine MMJ Evaluations), Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission, Massachusetts Health and Human Services, Massachusetts Marijuana Doctors, Detroit Free PressMLive,, Minnesota Department of Public HealthBallotpediaNew Jersey Marijuana Doctors, New Mexico Department of Health, Nevada Division of Public and Behavioral Health, Ballotpedia, Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program,, The Ohio Legislature, Oregon Health Authority, PA.GOV, The General Assembly of Pennsylvania, Washington State Department of Health, Marijuana Business Daily, Rhode Island Department of Public Health, Marijuana Policy ProjectD.C. Department of Health
Creative Commons photo links: (Arizona flag) GarrettSSeeger/Flickr cc, (Arkansas map) Norman B. Leventhal Map Center/Flickr, (Delaware postcard) Noé Alfaro/Flickr cc, (Maine flag) Nicolas Raymond/Flickr cc, (Massachusetts map) Norman B. Leventhal Map Center/Flickr cc, (Minnesota flag) Free Grunge Textures – /Flickr cc

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