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Can Conditions Be Removed from the Medical Marijuana List?

October 1, 2019 • • Marijuana Laws
Can Conditions Be Removed from the Medical Marijuana List

Can Conditions Be Removed from the Medical Marijuana List?

Ohio’s medical board can add conditions to the medical marijuana treatment list, but can’t yet remove them. A committee of Ohio’s medical board recently rejected a proposal to add two new conditions to the list of 21 diseases currently approved for medical marijuana treatment. The decision came after medical experts expressed their doubts to board members about whether marijuana could be a beneficial therapy for anxiety and autism spectrum disorder. Each year, Ohio permits residents to petition the state to add conditions to the approved list. Petitions must be supported by scientific studies indicating medical marijuana is a viable alternative to traditional therapies for the disorder. The medical board makes a final decision to either confirm or reject the request. In the fall, the full board is scheduled to vote on including anxiety and autism as qualifying conditions. However, it’s expected that the board will uphold the committee’s decision. The committee’s rejection highlights the debate over whether the medical board has the authority to remove a condition after it has been approved. Board members have not officially been given the power to do so, which means they may be reluctant to add a condition to the list if scientific evidence may later suggest that medical marijuana is not an appropriate treatment.

Important Strides in Medical Marijuana Research

Because marijuana is classified as a Schedule I drug, researchers face barriers in getting approval and funding for research. Nevertheless, several studies have documented marijuana’s potential to minimize the symptoms of numerous chronic conditions, including childhood epilepsy and cancer. Earlier this year, an Israeli study found a majority of autism patients aged 18 and under treated with medical marijuana experienced a reduction in seizures, tics, depression, restlessness, and rage episodes. Researchers concluded marijuana was a “well-tolerated and safe” therapy for autism spectrum disorder. Meanwhile, research on the effect of cannabis on anxiety and depression has so far been inconclusive. On that question, studies have shown a short-term alleviation of symptoms, but a worsening of symptoms over the longer term. Those findings likely led lawmakers to refuse to add anxiety to the qualifying condition list until more studies are completed.

Can Conditions be Removed?

While Ohio has rejected medical marijuana as a treatment for anxiety, ten states, including New Jersey, Nevada, and Pennsylvania, have already approved it. Autism is on the qualifying conditions list in 22 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico. Recently, Illinois was added to that number. When Ohio approved medical marijuana usage in 2016, the law detailed procedures for adding a condition, but left out an official removal process. The law further specifies the board’s decision is final and isn’t subject to reversal. The state has since endorsed medical marijuana as a therapy for 21 conditions, including post-traumatic stress disorder, inflammatory bowel disease, Parkinson’s disease, cancer, Multiple Sclerosis, and chronic pain. Yet Onio’s legislature could enact a law that also allows the board to eliminate a condition from the list. If the board gains this ability, it’s possible members will be more open to approving new conditions for medical marijuana treatment.

Can Medical Marijuana Help You?

As researchers delve more deeply into the medicinal benefits of cannabis, more conditions are likely to be added to the list in Ohio. For now, if you or a loved one suffer from one of the conditions currently approved you may want to consider medical marijuana.  At Lakewood Medical Center, our doctors may recommend cannabis after a thorough review of your condition. Our experts will then monitor your progress as you continue with medical marijuana treatment, and answer any questions you may have along the way. Contact us today for a consultation.