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Ohio Medical Board still considering 7 additional conditions for Medical Marijuana program

Five conditions will get new expert input
Medical marijuana
Posted at 3:06 PM, Feb 10, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-10 15:32:18-05

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio’s Medical Board is still considering seven conditions to potentially add to the state’s list of approved conditions for Medical Marijuana.

The board narrowed the list down from 30 applications that had been submitted between November 1 and December 31, 2020.

The conditions that the board will seek insight from experts on are:

  • Restless Leg Syndrome
  • Huntington's Disease
  • Spasticity/Persistent Muscle spasms
  • Terminal Illness -- less than 6 months
  • Terminal Illness -- less than 6 months, eligible for hospice care

The board is advancing Autism and Panic Disorder with Agoraphobia through the review process, but they are not seeking additional expert input on those conditions. Autism and Agoraphobia have already come before the medical board and they’ve already heard from experts on those conditions. The decision is that the board would serve as its own expert when considering those conditions this year.

Restless Leg Syndrome

The board discussed how the Restless Leg Syndrome petition included observations from doctors that patients using cannabis had fewer problems with restless leg syndrome.

Huntington's Disease

Dr. Mark Bechtel said Huntington’s Disease might be a good candidate to treat with medical marijuana because it is a debilitating condition with no FDA-approved treatments, and there are thought to be cannabinoid receptors in parts of the human body that could help.

Dr. Yshwant Reddy pointed out that there are a number of conditions already approved for Medical Marijuana treatment that are neurodegenerative, and that Huntington’s Disease would make sense joining them.

Spasticity/Persistent Muscle spasms

Dr. Reddy pointed out that this condition is often present in other, already-approved conditions. If it’s approved, patients with Spasticity or Persistent Muscle spasms would be able to get recommendation to use medical marijuana without having to be diagnosed with another condition.

Terminal Illness -- less than 6 months and Terminal Illness -- less than 6 months, eligible for hospice care

Dr. Bechtel also pointed out, like Dr. Reedy did for Spasticity/Persistent Muscle spasms, that many patients who fall under this category would likely qualify for medical marijuana recommendations because of chronic pain.

Dr. Michael Schottenstein suggested the board consult an expert in palliative care. Since there are a few neurological-based conditions, he suggested the board consult with experts in that field that can speak to more than one condition.

Autism and Panic Disorder with Agoraphobia

Both these conditions are moving forward but will not have expert testimony. The Medical Board decided to serve as its own expert for both conditions because they have previously consulted experts in the past.

“I feel like we as a committee are familiar with the autism petitions,” said Dr. Schottenstein.

Dr. Robert Giacalone pointed out that Nationwide Children’s Hospital testified to the dangers cannabis could pose to children during the review process last year.

News 5 Cleveland spoke with one of the petitioners last year who submitted information about making Autism a qualifying condition. She submitted new information again this year. See her story here.

The public comment period will run from February 11 through February 26.

The medical board added cachexia to its list of qualifying conditions in the summer of 2020. It was considered it alongside Autism and Anxiety, which were both rejected.

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