Ohio Medical Board Rejects Anxiety & Autism For Medical Marijuana
We take a look at what Ohioans can do about it.
Well, we called this nonsense back in early July 2019, and sometimes being right is no fun. After months of wasting everyone’s time, resources and valuable tax dollars, the Ohio State Medical Board has voted down autism and anxiety.
#420Ohio breaks down what this means for the state’s medical marijuana program. And whether this decision just sparked a new fire for Ohio recreational marijuana advocates.
Weak Sauce in Columbus
The Ohio State Medical Board met Wednesday, July 14. They listened to less than two hours of new testimony from just four doctors. Each felt cherry-picked to offer just the right amount of anti-drug propaganda and dissent toward medical cannabis. And that’s because Wednesday’s meeting was basically exactly that.
This wasn’t the first time the Ohio State Medical Board had convened to discuss the subject of adding more conditions to the state’s medical marijuana program. In fact, this process began in December 2018 when the state created a web form and asked physicians, patients and advocates to submit testimony, evidence and research supporting adding new qualifying conditions. Of all the submissions, a handful of qualifying conditions were considered. That list was then trimmed down to just two potential conditions: anxiety and autism. The public was again asked to deliver testimony and research. Unhappy with the overwhelmingly positive response the state got, the Board sought to find dissenting opinions for Wednesday’s meeting.
As a result, the Board mostly heard from physicians who expressed a chicken or the egg-type straw man argument that there’s a lack of research about the cannabis plant. But research can’t be conducted as thoroughly until there’s more legality to cannabis and cannabis-related products. This is, quite simply, the equivalent of a “thoughts and prayers” type response where action is clearly required.
What Voting Down Autism & Anxiety Means For Patients
The Board decided to ignore the thousands of letters and testimony from physicians, researchers, scientists and patients who are in favor of anxiety and autism being added to the state’s program. Instead, they went with their bias and voted down these two medical conditions.
To say we at #420Ohio aren’t more than a little pissed about the results of this charade is most certainly an understatement. This will translate to tens of thousands of patients being unable to try this alternative method to prescriptions.
Never mind the fact that thousands of anxiety patients have adverse or negative reactions to anxiety medications (this writer included). Or that many patients have exhausted all other treatment methods and are simply looking to try one more option to see if it works for them. And never mind the testimony from physicians who have seen the benefits of cannabis first-hand, or the researchers who have studied cannabis.
None of that mattered. Not in the end. It didn’t seem to matter that adding autism and anxiety to Ohio’s medical marijuana program would have given patients and physicians one more tool at their disposal.
In the end, the concerns of a mere handful of physicians on Wednesday was compelling enough to invalidate thousands of other voices.
Are the Concerns Over Cannabis Valid?
Simply put, yes and no, but more no than yes. Like any medication, cannabis should be used with caution, and used responsibly. If not used responsibly, it can be dangerous or potentially habit-forming.
Young children, for example, may have brain development issues. But even this study suggests the factor that stunts development may be the combination of cannabis and alcohol at a young age. Just a friendly reminder, one of these things is a toxic poison … and the other is cannabis.
Most of the arguments Wednesday focused on concerns over the active chemical compounds found in cannabis. Many of these compounds have yet to receive substantial research in the United States.
While there are some concerns about long-term use, or concerns over dosing amounts, most patients who use cannabis tend to find a balance that works for them. And with budtenders and consultants helping at Ohio medical marijuana dispensaries, and licensed medical marijuana physicians offering additional support, patients tend to find the best strain for their needs.
The Light at the End of the Tunnel...
All is not doom and gloom, though, dear readers. The ball is in your court now. The State Medical Board seems disinterested in advancing the Ohio medical marijuana program beyond what has already been established.
The State Medical Board of Ohio has the right to reject these conditions based on a lack of scientific research. They are not wrong. More cannabis research needs to be done. The Board has concerns, and some of those concerns are either valid or based on personal bias or anecdotes.
It’s alright that the state rejected autism and anxiety. But every Ohio cannabis advocate has a right to be angry and frustrated right now.
Let this decision enrage cannabis advocates. Let it enrage cannabis physicians and other practitioners. Let it enrage patients and non-patients alike — those who just want to seek out alternatives to prescriptions. Let it enrage lobbyists to push better legislation. Let it enrage the media to report more stories about the benefits of cannabis. And let it enrage you to do more to bring validation and legalization to the cannabis plant!
Ohio Recreational Marijuana
In order for more research to be conducted, cannabis must be legalized. One method is to legalize cannabis through the federal government. But that’s been a brick wall for close to 50 years now. And though some signals suggest change may be on the horizon, don’t hold your breath.
States, however, have been voting in recreational laws for close to a decade. Some states, like Illinois, are even legalizing via legislation! Close to one-third of the United States now has a recreational program in their law books, with close to a half-dozen other states slowly considering full legalization.
Let this moment be the spark that reignites the debate about recreational cannabis in Ohio. And let this spark transform into the fire that leads to a ballot initiative in the Buckeye State in 2020.
Let Us Know Your Thoughts!
We’ll keep you posted on ways you can help with cannabis legalization efforts in Ohio. In the meantime, what do you think about Ohio’s decision to reject anxiety and autism? Do you know anyone with these conditions? What will you do to push for full cannabis legalization in Ohio? Let us know in the comments below!
Medical cannabis in the Buckeye State is finally becoming more affordable… But will patients return?
“Some strains … they just grind perfectly. And as expected, the tiny nugs from my bottle did just that.”