Ohio Still Mulling New Conditions
Autism & Anxiety May Soon Be Added To The State’s Medical Marijuana Program...Maybe.
Ohio’s budding medical marijuana industry has been operating for close to a year now. But many Ohio cannabis advocates have complained about the lack of qualifying conditions in the state’s program. That may soon change as the Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program is set to explore — yet again — adding anxiety and autism to their list of qualifying medical conditions.
#420Ohio is here to break down what this means for potential Ohio medical marijuana patients with either of those conditions. We’ll also dive into what current qualifying conditions exist, and when patients should expect the new conditions be added.
Autism and Anxiety: Two New Qualifying Conditions
The Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program will soon decide whether to add two new qualifying conditions to the state’s MMJ program. This comes just one month after the board decided to table adding new conditions in June 2019. That decision was made after it was decided that the new members of the Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program Board needed more time to review the scientific data.
The OMMCP Board met Wednesday, July 10, 2019, in Columbus, Ohio, to debate the current research conducted about autism and anxiety and cannabis use. According to Cleveland.com, it was decided that the OMMCP Board would ask for opinions from those opposed to cannabis.
After conducting this research and debate, the Board will vote. If autism and anxiety have the votes, they will be added to the state’s medical marijuana program. It is unclear if these new conditions will be added right away, in a period of 90 days or less, or early next year, in January 2020. Once the board decides, we should have more info to report to our readers.
What Qualifies An Ohio Medical Marijuana Patient Currently?
At current, Ohio allows cannabis for 21 qualifying conditions, including chronic pain, post-traumatic stress disorder, cancer, glaucoma, fibromyalgia, Crohn’s disease, intractable pain, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), epilepsy (and other seizure disorders), hepatitis C, AIDS and HIV, chronic traumatic encephalopathy, Alzheimer’s disease, inflammatory bowel disease, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, spinal cord disease or injury, ulcerative colitis, traumatic brain injury, sickle cell anemia, and Tourette syndrome.
Patients with any of these conditions can contact a licensed medical cannabis doctor and get their Ohio medical marijuana card. Patients must first submit their medical records to the attending physician. Once this physician determines you have a qualifying condition, they write a letter of recommendation. This letter is submitted by the doctor, along with an application that the patient must complete. After payment and approval, the patient receives their MMJ card.
Some general practitioners have received their license to recommend medical marijuana in the State of Ohio. However, most practitioners have partnered with companies like Ohio Green Team in Columbus, Ohio Green Medical in Cleveland or Green Compassion Network in Akron. These clinics, and many others like them, provide medical cannabis evaluations throughout the state.
Could These New Qualifying Conditions Get Rejected?
The short answer to that question is: hell yes. The state has already rejected a number of qualifying conditions, including depression, opioid addiction recovery and insomnia. The Board may decide that there simply isn’t enough research and could vote down either of the two conditions under review. Rejection would mean that the state would not allow that condition for consideration for a period of one year.
Worried is the tone of the Board President Dr. Michael Schottenstein, who expressed concern about adding conditions to the program with Cincinatti.com. “I’m swallowing hard to even consider indications for medical marijuana for these conditions, given the very real concerns that I have about this drug,” Schottenstein stated. “So if I have the time to educate myself or to hear from additional experts, to meet about it, and to either solidify my opinion or to provoke second thoughts, I’m glad for that.”
Add to this, the state is seeking opposition to the two new conditions being added. That alone could spell doom for advocates if anti-pot think tanks crank out some crooked research to present to the Board.
Autism and Anxiety — Why They May or May Not Be Added
Autism is considered a qualifying medical condition in many other states, including Michigan, Pennsylvania and Louisiana. Autism also has scientific research and passionate voices and organizations supporting cannabis as a treatment method.
But it’s also tricky in that autism affects children. There is evidence that cannabis can slow or stunt brain growth in developing brains.
The Board could decide to nix autism based on this evidence alone. But with other states adding autism to their programs, it’s possible autism has a good shot at making it on Ohio’s list of qualifying conditions.
Anxiety is problematic in that it simply hasn’t been researched enough. There are thousands, if not millions, of anecdotal stories from patients (myself included) that cannabis tempers anxiety during attacks.
However, the research that it benefits patients in the long run remains tragically inconclusive.
The Odds of New Conditions Being Added in 2019, According to #420Ohio
Given the tremendous amount of time and effort that has gone into bringing these two conditions to this point in the review stage, it seems fairly fruitless (and a waste of taxpayer money) to not add at least one of the two conditions. But that’s not the usual pattern of thought from bureaucratic government organizations.
The pessimist in us suspects that Ohio will vote down these two conditions in favor of more evidence and research. That would mean Ohioans with these conditions will have to wait at least one year, or longer, before trying again. In less words … more delays.
If Ohio accepts one condition, it’s likely to be autism. If anxiety makes it on the list, it’s because the Board was compelled by the anecdotal evidence. The scientific research is limited, and likely not as compelling as autism’s research, though Pennsylvania recently added anxiety to their list of qualifying conditions, so that may sway the Board somewhat.
What Are Your Thoughts?
Sound off in the comments below with what conditions you’d like to see added to Ohio’s program, and why. Also, if you’ve found any compelling scientific data or research about anxiety or autism, please feel free to share it below. Or you can you send it to OMMCP directly.
Also, be sure to check out our first #420Ohio medical cannabis strain review! We take a look at Wedding Cake, a Woodward Fine Cannabis strain. This Ohio-grown strain was cultivated by the botanists at Fire Rock in Akron, Ohio. You won’t want to miss that review!