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Advocates of medical marijuana for PTSD patients want immediate implementation

(AP Photo/Brennan Linsley, File)

PHOENIX -- Department of Health Services Director Will Humble may have approved on Wednesday treating post-traumatic stress disorder with medical marijuana, but long-time advocates of the move say it may take months to implement.

"(Humble) is actually trying to modify the order. He's stating that this will not go into effect until Jan. 1, 2015," said Heather Manus, president of Arizona Cannabis Nurses Association.

"Even the (Department of Veterans Affairs) has put out the statistic that 22 veterans a day commit suicide," Manus said, referring to a 2013 VA study. "At that epidemic rate, these patients should not wait any longer."

Manus said she believes Humble's decision in favor of marijuana for the treatment of PTSD came after a study was published in the Journal of Psychoactive Drugs earlier this year. The study concluded that more than 75 percent of the PTSD patients treated with medical pot showed symptomatic improvements over their counterparts who were not prescribed the drug.

According to Manus, medical marijuana can help PTSD sufferers better manage anxieties, sleeplessness, social issues, flashbacks and "reduce all of these symptoms to a level where (the patients) can actually function in the world."

If Humble tries to hold off allowing PTSD patients to use medical marijuana immediately, Manus said her association has its own legal team prepared to challenge any further delays.

About the Author

Holliday Moore is a Phoenix native with more than 25 years experience in the local and national broadcast and media industry. A graduate of ASU's journalism program, with a second major in Marketing & Management, she considers herself one of the lucky few to be doing exactly what she loves, writing and producing news.

In 2012, she won a prestigious Edward R. Murrow award for a light feature radio story on snakes. For the record, snakes do not say much! She is also honored to be one of two nominees this year for a Mark Twain Award involving her series on Arizona drowning cases.

Among her career accomplishments, Moore has taken home a television Emmy for Cultural Issues Reporting on the Navajo/Hopi Partition Land Act. She has also won numerous Emmy nominations for hard, soft and even sports reporting. However, Moore considers her highest achievement was on the day she received the prestigious Walter Cronkite Political Excellence Award for developing the Scripps Television stations' Democracy 2000 & 2002 program. Bob Morford, ABC 15's News Director at the time, asked Moore to head the project with one wish, "Try not to lose ratings," he said. "We not only did not lose ratings," says Moore, "We actually improved ratings between the coveted 5:00-6:30pm news block."

"She created, designed and executed the award winning program," recalls Morford, "Her efforts brought a great deal of notice and credit to our station."

Moore loves a challenge and is an adrenaline junky by nature. She ran 400 hurdles in college and more recently half marathons to raise thousands of dollars for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. She works part time for KTAR Radio while volunteering for her young son's elementary school and running a freelance media services business.


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