The Colorado Board of Health had a rule making hearing about people with PTSD qualifying for medical marijuana at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment offices in Denver. Christopher Latona, center, and his dad Mike Latona, left, both testified in support of approving medical marijuana for PTSD, which Christopher has suffered from since returning from his US. Army service in Afghanistan. They were photographed on July 15. The board voted 6-2 not to approve the change. (Cyrus McCrimmon, The Denver Post )

Two views: Don’t disregard anecdotes about pot for PTSD

Editor’s note: Here are two recent responses from the Colorado community about the Colorado Board of Health’s decision this month to not add post-traumatic stress disorder to the state’s list of qualifying conditions for medical marijuana:

Guest Commentary Re: “Pot for PTSD rightly rejected,” July 16 editorial.

How can The Denver Post and so many professionals in the medical profession simply ignore the facts around cannabis and how it helps people suffering from all types of PTSD? To say the heartfelt stories of people testifying and the countless vets who tell us cannabis helps them cope with the impact of trauma are “anecdotal” is just archaic.

I recently spent a day in Oregon with vets who were being given education, advice and, yes, free cannabis. As a volunteer for this effort, I got a chance to talk to the hundreds of vets who participated. Their stories were real and their emotions powerful. They felt that modern medicine has turned its back on them and that cannabis is the best and safest alternative for their mental well-being.

When a person suffering from any form of PTSD tells you that cannabis kept them from killing themselves, that is not anecdotal evidence. When a veteran tells you that the only substance that helps him sleep peacefully for the first time in 40 years, that is not anecdotal. These are real people with real conditions, and cannabis helps them. This is fact.

Mental illness and mental trauma are conditions society often ignores until it is too late. Many medical professionals sit by idle as more and more veterans commit suicide each day. If a person suffering with PTSD commits suicide, we as a society did not do enough to support them.

I will continue to work with key organizations like Operation Grow for Vets that are actually working to help people recover from these terrible and difficult scenarios. I will continue to dedicate my company’s time, people and energy to helping this cause.

My message to you all out there suffering, reach out to me, to others, and know that you are not alone. There are some people who want to help you. That is not anecdotal; it’s fact!

Todd Mitchem ( is co-founder and CEO of HighThere!, a dating app for pot smokers.

Letter to the editor Re: “Colorado board votes no on allowing medical marijuana for PTSD,” July 16 news story.

The Colorado Board of Health’s rejection of cannabis as an approved choice for sufferers of post-traumatic stress disorder illustrates two Prohibition-era notions that most Americans still accept without question.

First, that anecdotal evidence about the healing power of cannabis (spanning centuries, across a wide range of cultures all over the world) cannot be considered, and like any other drug, cannabis must be studied, tested and approved before patients can be granted access.

That’s not how medicinal cannabis is coming back to us. It’s returning the old-fashioned way: by word of mouth, one patient at a time, treating themselves and sharing what they learn.

Second is the prevailing belief that elected, appointed and self-appointed leaders in this country actually have the right to determine what plants we may use for medicine (and/or for fun). Not according to the Founding Fathers, they don’t. We’re Americans: our lives, our bodies, our right to choose.

Carl Hedberg, Lafayette

This letter was published in the July 24 edition.

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