The State Medical Board of Ohio may add anxiety and Autism Spectrum Disorder to its list of qualifying debilitating conditions for medical marijuana in June, suggest sources.
A committee of 4 members of the medical board voted to recommend that the complete 12-member board approve the two conditions. In addition, they also voted against recommending medical marijuana for depression, insomnia and opioid use disorder.
“Roughly, 1 in 59 children in the US has Autism Spectrum Disorder – AST affects over 10,000 families in Ohio,” said Michael Hartley, a Circleville advocate whose son is battling Autism.
Sensing some hope following the committee’s decision, Hartley believes that medical marijuana could be a blessing for parents (like him).
Presently, patients battling one (or more) of the 21 debilitating conditions, including HIV, cancer and PTSD, qualify to obtain medical marijuana from the state.
Before giving its recommendation, the committee went through 200 pages of studies, data and analyses curated by Ohioans in support of why the conditions must be added to the list of qualifying ailments.
On the other hand, nearly 13.3% of people in the U.S. suffer from anxiety, while 28% of people will experience an anxiety disorder at some point in their lives.
The decision to include anxiety in the list, however, was met with some skepticism as a few were of the opinion that marijuana may exacerbate anxiety instead of treating it.
Solomon Zaraa, a psychiatrist for Compassionate Cleveland, is of the view that patients need to start on a low dose of THC- products that blend THC with CBD, in order to experience relief from symptoms.
“Low doses can ameliorate symptoms; however, even moderate doses can potentially create a situation where anxiety can return,” Zaraa said to a leading daily.
Notably, California, Oklahoma, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Puerto Rico are among few states/territories where anxiety is an eligible condition under the state’s medical marijuana program.