Ohio Thinking of Adding Anxiety and Autism to List Qualifying Medical Marijuana Conditions
Over a million Ohio citizens could see their medical options open if the state decides to expand its eligible medical marijuana conditions, reports The Center Square.
The subject first appeared in June, when the State Medical Board considered adding anxiety and autism as eligible for medical cannabis, at the discretion of a medical professional.
Evidence for marijuana’s efficacy against autism and anxiety are not as rock solid as CBD and epilepsy – the only use of cannabis approved by the FDA. Nonetheless, the small amount of research so far does indicate potential benefits.
Insomnia, depression and opioid addiction were also put forward, but dismissed outright by the board.
The fate of anxiety and autism in this debate is still uncertain, but advocates are fighting tooth and nail to make it happen.
Currently, Ohio is home to about 1.6 million anxiety patients (14% of Ohio’s population) and 44,000 children with autism, says The Center Square.
But despite these concerning numbers, health professionals will not entertain medical marijuana without some evidence to support it in these cases. Fortunately, both conditions have some backing.
Jared Moffat of The Marijuana Policy Project – a non-profit dedicated to legalizing medical and recreational marijuana – is fighting to help these patients expand their treatment options, discussing the evidence we have so far.
According to The Center Square:
“Moffat said that studies have shown that medical marijauana [sic] can alleviate symptoms associated with autism, citing two studies in Israel. He said that more research needs to be done to know whether medical marijuana could help with anxiety, but that there is evidence that suggests it may help in some circumstances. Regardless, he said that the option should be available for doctors who believe it may be helpful in a certain situation.”
Autism has a fighting chance, but anxiety could be a tougher sell. Aside from having considerably less research to back it, it is widely known that paranoia and anxiety are often side effects of cannabis use. However, this depends on the particular strain. Choosing the correct one will help alleviate anxiety.
Even then, dosing is also a huge component. If patients want to effectively use cannabis to treat their anxiety, it is critical that doctors understand how the drug works for this condition.
Still a Discretionary Practice
Although Moffat advocates for expanding medical marijuana eligibility, he is not saying that the drug should simply be thrown at patients without a second thought. All treatment plans need to be weighed for their pros and cons.
“It’s important to keep in mind that the issue is not whether every child with autism or every person with anxiety should be treated with medical cannabis. The issue is whether the state should expand the set of qualifying conditions, so more patients, families, and their doctors can legally make that choice. Our position – and I think the compassionate position – is that more families and doctors in Ohio should have these options.”
At this point, the decision could go either way. But Moffat laments that, if turned down, it would shut the door for a lot of families seeking relief from major symptoms.
WeedAdvisor’s Support for Medical Marijuana Expansion
For WeedAdvisor, it is always welcome news to see progress in the expansion of medical marijuana eligibility. While Ohio’s medicinal cannabis laws are far from restrictive (20 conditions already qualify), adding more to the list can only serve to benefit those who are suffering.
We look forward to seeing further change in the future and will always be available to offer our resources, business solutions and education efforts to make these expansions as easy as possible.