Ohio Adds Qualifying Conditions To Medical Cannabis Program

State officials tasked with overseeing Ohio’s medical marijuana program approved last week the addition of three health conditions that qualify a patient to use cannabis medicinally. The move brings the number of severe medical conditions that allow a patient to use cannabis medicinally in Ohio to 25 and marks the second time that state regulators have updated the list this year.

On Wednesday, the Ohio State Medical Board announced that it had approved Huntington’s disease, terminal disease and spasticity to the list of approved conditions. Huntington’s disease is a rare, hereditary, neurological disease that leads to the breakdown of nerve cells in the brain. The malady usually appears in adults in their 30s and 40s and causes progressive cognitive, motor and psychiatric symptoms. No cure for Huntington’s disease has yet been found, but treatments including pharmaceutical drugs, physical therapy and talk therapy have been shown to help patients manage their symptoms.

Spasticity is a medical condition characterized by prolonged muscle contraction and abnormal muscle tightness. Spasticity is a symptom often associated with brain or nervous system injuries or disease and neurological disorders such as cerebral palsy and multiple sclerosis. 

The addition of all three, new, medical conditions to the Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program (OMMCP) is effective immediately. The board also voted to reject petitions to add autism spectrum disorder, restless leg syndrome, panic disorder with agoraphobia and spasms to the list of conditions that qualify a patient to use cannabis medicinally.

List Of Conditions Reviewed Annually

Under House Bill 523, the measure that legalized medical marijuana in Ohio in 2016, the state medical board was given the authority to make additions to the state’s list of qualifying conditions during an annual petition and review process. Before this year, however, the board had agreed to add only one medical condition to the state’s list, approving a severe wasting syndrome known as cachexia in 2020.

Anyone can file a petition for a condition to be added to the OMMCP, although petitions for medical conditions that have already been considered and rejected by the board must include new, scientific information to support the new request. Petitions must include the specific disease or condition to be added and information from experts who specialize in its study, including relevant scientific or medical evidence, information on whether existing treatments for the condition are insufficient and evidence supporting the use of medical marijuana to treat the condition.

In February, the board’s medical marijuana committee reviewed petitions for the 2020 application period. The committee decided that three of the petitions, for complex regional pain syndrome, chronic migraines and arthritis, were already covered by the approval of pain that is either chronic or intractable as a qualifying medical condition.

List Of Qualifying Conditions Grows To 25

With this year’s additions, there are now 25 medical conditions that qualify a patient for Ohio’s medicinal cannabis program.

“Under Ohio law, the following are qualifying medical conditions: AIDS, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease, cachexia, cancer, chronic traumatic encephalopathy, Crohn’s disease, epilepsy or another seizure disorder, fibromyalgia, glaucoma, hepatitis C, Huntington’s disease, 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, spasticity, spinal cord disease or injury, terminal illness, Tourette’s syndrome, traumatic brain injury and ulcerative colitis,” the state medical board notes on its website.

The next submission period to petition the board to approve additions to Ohio’s list of conditions that qualify a patient to use medical marijuana is scheduled for November 1 through December 31, 2021. More information on submitting a petition to add qualifying medical conditions to the OMMCP is available online.

  1. Great news. The next step is amending federal law to open up more chances to secure research funding. Legislation is still holding back science and potential medical advances, but at least this is progress.

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