While this decision brings hope to IBS patients, it also highlights the disappointment of the autism community and those dealing with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).
In a significant move, the State Medical Board of Ohio has approved using medical marijuana to treat irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), marking the 26th ailment for which Ohioans can now legally access the drug.
This decision is a welcome relief for patients suffering from IBS, who now have a new treatment option at their disposal.
However, while this decision brings hope to IBS patients, it also highlights the disappointment of the autism community and those dealing with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).
The medical board, unfortunately, unanimously rejected the use of medical marijuana for these conditions. This decision has sparked criticism of the board's selection of physician experts tasked with reviewing the medical literature and recommending condition additions.
For years, the autism community has tirelessly advocated for including cannabis as a potential treatment option. Regrettably, their pleas have gone unanswered, with the board repeatedly denying adding autism spectrum disorder and OCD to the list of qualifying ailments. This rejection leaves many Ohioans who could potentially benefit from medical marijuana treatment feeling neglected and unheard.
The Ohio Medical Cannabis Industry Association, comprising businesses within the state's legal marijuana market, expressed gratitude for the approval granted to IBS patients.
They acknowledged that this step would indeed expand patient access to medical marijuana. Still, they remained steadfast in their commitment to continue working with the board to advocate for those suffering from autism and OCD, who also deserve access to this therapeutic option.
The rejection of autism and OCD highlights an underlying issue within Ohio's medical marijuana program. The reluctance of the medical board to expand the list of qualifying conditions has led some businesses involved in the medical marijuana space to support a proposed state law that could legalize marijuana for recreational use for adults. The initiative, endorsed by the Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol, is seeking support from Ohio voters on November 7.
During the board's deliberations, expert physicians presented compelling testimony about the potential benefits of medical marijuana for IBS patients.
Dr. Frederick A. Slezak, a retired medical school professor, and colon and rectal surgeon, emphasized the relationship between IBS and the endocannabinoid system, a complex network of neurotransmitters that affect various bodily functions.
While the decision to approve medical marijuana for IBS is rooted in research findings and expert opinions, denying marijuana's use for autism and OCD leaves some questions unanswered.
While the physicians who presented their research indicated potential benefits, the lack of high-quality research and variability in THC levels used in the studies served as grounds for the board's rejection.
As Ohio moves forward, policymakers, physicians, and the medical board need to engage in constructive dialogue, fostering a cooperative environment to explore the potential benefits of medical marijuana for various conditions.
Rigorous research, open discussions, and a patient-centered approach must guide future decisions to ensure those in need receive the best care possible.
Approving medical marijuana for IBS patients in Ohio represents a significant step forward in the state's evolving approach to healthcare.
Nevertheless, rejecting marijuana's use for autism and OCD reminds us of the importance of continuing our pursuit of knowledge and openness to new possibilities. Only through collaboration and dedication can we shape a more inclusive and compassionate medical marijuana program for all Ohioans in need.
These are the twenty-six conditions that currently qualify for medical marijuana:
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Chronic traumatic encephalopathy
- Crohn’s disease
- Epilepsy or another seizure disorder
- Hepatitis C
- Huntington’s disease
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Multiple sclerosis
- Pain that is either chronic and severe or intractable (including arthritis, chronic migraines, and complex regional pain syndrome)
- Parkinson’s disease
- Positive status for HIV
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Sickle cell anemia
- Spinal cord disease or injury
- Terminal illness
- Tourette syndrome
- Traumatic brain injury
- Ulcerative colitis
How to become a medical marijuana patient in Ohio