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State Medical Board rejects autism, OCD for medical marijuana uses

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July 16, 2023

The State Medical Board of Ohio on Wednesday rejected adding autism and obsessive-compulsive disorder to the list of qualifying conditions doctors are permitted to recommend for treatment with medical marijuana, only approving adding irritable bowel syndrome. “The available scientific evidence and the experience of countless patients and doctors tell us that there are thousands of Ohioans suffering from these conditions who could benefit from treatment with medical marijuana,” said Matt Close, executive director of Ohio Medical Cannabis Industry Association, a trade association representing licensed cultivators, processors, dispensaries, and testing labs in the state’s Medical Marijuana Control Program. ExploreEfforts underway to expand, overhaul Ohio medical marijuana programThe State Medical Board’s vote to allow IBS but reject autism and OCD follows the recommendations of the board’s Medical Marijuana Committee. Medical marijuana could be used to treat some of the symptoms of IBS, such as pain, nausea, and vomiting, said the committee’s expert on IBS, Dr. Frederick Slezak. Another advantage of medical marijuana is it can be used to treat acute attacks, whereas many other treatments for IBS are used for long-term treatment, the committee said. In regard to autism, the committee’s experts discussed a need for more placebo-controlled studies. Dr. LaRae Copley, one of the committee’s experts, said she suspected that interest around using medical marijuana to treat autism is due to observations of people using cannabidiol (CBD) as an anti-seizure medicine exhibited better behaviors and less irritability when they also concurrently had autism, but she also said there is a lack of random controlled trials involving cannabis and autism. The committee said the risks of medical marijuana for those living with autism include induction of psychosis, impact on cognitive development, and other side effects.

In regard to OCD, the committee’s OCD expert Dr. Timothy Kantz said some studies showed some compelling indications of positive responses, but he found the quality of that evidence to be weak and counterbalanced with concerns about potential negative side-effects, such as cannabis use disorder. There are currently a number of qualifying medical conditions under the state’s medical marijuana program, including: acquired immune deficiency syndrome, Alzheimer’s disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, cancer, chronic traumatic encephalopathy, Crohn’s disease, epilepsy or another seizure disorder, fibromyalgia, glaucoma, hepatitis C, inflammatory bowel disease, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, positive status for HIV, post-traumatic stress disorder, sickle cell anemia, spinal cord disease or injury, Tourette’s syndrome, traumatic brain injury, ulcerative colitis, and pain that is either of the following: chronic and severe or intractable. ExploreOhio medical marijuana program: How many doctors, dispensaries, patients have been sanctioned?Ohioans can also petition the state medical board under Ohio revised code for permission of a disease or condition to be added as a qualifying medical condition for medical marijuana treatment.

The next submission period is scheduled for Nov. 1 through Dec. 31, according to the State Medical Board. Anyone may submit a petition requesting a condition be added to the Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program. If a condition has been previously rejected by the board, the new petition must contain new scientific information that supports the request.


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