COLUMBUS (WCMH) — The State Medical Board of Ohio postponed a vote on a recommendation to add anxiety and autism as qualifying conditions for medical marijuana.
The board’s medical marijuana committee recommended the two conditions for approval but the full board tabled a vote to allow two new board members more time to review the issue.
The board also formally rejected petitions to add depression, insomnia and opioid use disorder as qualifying conditions.
Thomas Rosenberger, associate director of the Ohio Medical Cannabis Cultivators Association, says he’s disappointed with the decision regarding opioid use disorder.
“Ohio is at the center of the opioid crisis,” Rosenberger said. “It’s impacting virtually every Ohioan in some form and so to give them that hope and an alternative form of treatment and give physicians another tool to try to address this crisis is incredibly important and would bring a lot of hope to families.”
Board president Michael Schottenstein said the board can add qualifying conditions but has no authority to remove conditions from the list. As a result, he said, the board needs to be sure.
“So, hypothetically we approve the use of marijuana for treatment of opioid use disorder today and a year from now we have new data that medical marijuana indication makes the opioid epidemic worse,” Schottenstein said. “Our hands would be tied as we would have no way to remove the indication once its already in place – so especially for the opioid use disorder indication – I think the data needs to be much more substantial to justify it.”
Board member Betty Montgomery said they had received a lot of communication from people asking that opioid use disorder be approved as a qualifying condition.
But she said the board can’t simply guess about whether it would be effective.
“The last thing we want to do is to grasp at something to try to resolve this crisis that may exacerbate it in a way we’re not aware of because we don’t have the science behind it,” Montgomery said.
Under Ohio law, medical marijuana can be used only for the treatment of the following qualifying conditions: AIDS, ALS, Alzheimer’s, cancer, chronic traumatic encephalopathy, Crohn’s disease, epilepsy or another seizure disorder, fibromyalgia, glaucoma, hepatitis C, inflammatory bowel disease, multiple sclerosis, pain that is either chronic and severe or intractable, 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, and ulcerative colitis.