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Will Ohio Add 3 New Medical Marijuana Conditions in 2020?

April 2, 2020 • • Marijuana Laws

This year, Ohio will consider adding anxiety, autism spectrum disorder, and cachexia to the list of qualifying conditions that can be treated with medical marijuana.

In the state of Ohio, there are currently 21 qualifying conditions that can be legally treated with medical marijauna. However, given the growing body of research on the various benefits that cannabis provides — including the potential to treat conditions that aren’t covered under current Ohio law — advocates have been working hard to encourage lawmakers to expand the list of qualifying conditions. 

The advocacy has paid off, because this year, Ohio state officials will consider adding three new conditions to the list of qualifying conditions for medical marijuana treatment: anxiety, autism spectrum disorder (ASD), and cachexia. Here’s what happens next.

Ohio’s Approval Process

Late last year, the Ohio State Medical Board received 27 petitions suggesting 22 conditions to be considered in 2020. Some of the petitions suggested conditions that already qualify — including AIDS and chronic pain — and the state medical board has rejected others for lacking the required evidence and physician support.

Last summer, the medical board rejected petitions to add anxiety, autism spectrum disorder, depression, insomnia, and opioid use disorder to the list of qualifying conditions. Petitioners submitted each of these conditions to be considered in 2020, as well, but the medical board oversight panel has again rejected depression, insomnia, and opioid use disorder based on insufficient evidence.

However, the state medical board deemed that the new evidence presented for anxiety, ASD, and cachexia is permissible, so the petitions will now be reviewed by a committee of physicians and marijuana experts. Once the petitions have been reviewed, the committee can recommend any that it views as worthy of consideration to the state medical board by the end of June. The state board also announced that this year it will accept public comment about the proposed additions to the list of qualifying conditions.

Medical Marijuana as Treatment for Anxiety, Autism, and Cachexia

Here’s what we know about how medical cannabis could potentially benefit people with each of the conditions up for consideration.

One of the documented side effects of taking CBD or THC (two naturally occurring compounds in cannabis) is a sense of relaxation, which is why many medical marijuana advocates think it could be effective for treating mental health conditions like anxiety. While more research still needs to be done — and a
new FDA-approved study at Yale could provide a great degree of insight — cross-sectional studies already indicate that medical marijuana is generally effective for treating anxiety.

While a lot of evidence on the potential of medical marijuana to manage severe ASD has been anecdotal, recent
studies have indicated that using cannabis to treat ASD patients is a safe and effective option. In fact, one study found that more than 80 percent of patients experienced moderate to significant reduction in ASD symptoms like seizures, tics, depression, and rage.

Cachexia is a complicated wasting syndrome that occurs in tandem with late-stage forms of serious diseases, including heart failure, kidney conditions, and HIV/AIDS — and by some estimations is responsible for as many as one-third of cancer deaths. Multiple
studies have shown that medical cannabis increases the appetite of cachexia patients, thereby increasing their caloric intake, allowing them to gain weight and improve their quality of life.

In the meantime, if you or someone you know is seeking treatment with medical marijuana — or if you’re curious if you meet the qualifying conditions —
contact Lakewood Medical Clinic today. We take pride in providing accessible and knowledgeable care for all of our patients, offering a variety of medical cannabis treatment options to fit your budget and lifestyle.