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Afghanistan veteran pushes for medicinal cannabis to be recognised as treatment for PTSD

Michael Harding and partner Bek Houghton, from Lawnton, who have launched Weeded Warriors. AN AFGHANISTAN veteran with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PSTD) wants medicinal cannabis to be recognised as an effective and legal treatment for his condition. Lawnton’s Michael Harding said he was medically discharged from the Royal Australian Army with PTSD and conversion disorder in 2012. He began using cannabis to treat his symptoms about five years ago after traditional, prescribed medicines did not work for him. “I was on four different psychotropic medications at once. I was so drugged out I wouldn’t feel anything,” he said. Harding said cannabis had given back his quality of life and he could better manage his condition. He and partner, Bek Houghton, founded Weeded Warrior to advocate cannabis as a treatment for PTSD and its decriminalisation. “I believe the legislation needs to be changed so not only veterans but all Australians have access to medicinal cannabis,” he said. “The scheme that’s in place is very, very hard to navigate.” Australian Medical Association Queensland president Dr Chris Zappala said he sympathised with Mr Harding but insisted cannabis should be held to Australia’s rigorous approval process before being legalised. “We need a trial of post-traumatic stress disorder patients and he can be patient number one,” he said. He said without the high level of evidence from multiple trials, doctors could not appropriately advise patients on the benefits and risks of the drug, which would compromise their safety. A Queensland Health spokesman said the Queensland Government had provided a pathway for Queensland patients of any age and a range of condition to access legal medicinal cannabis products. Use needed to be supervised by a medical practitioner and is subject to approval from the Commonwealth Government’s Therapeutic Goods Administration.

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