Autism and 10 Other Conditions Get Green Light for Medical Marijuana In This State

Medical marijuana has slowly and painfully made its way into the mainstream. It’s now legal in 30 US states. The World Health Organization announced in late 2017 that CBD, or cannabidol, the non-psycho-active element in the cannabis plant, shouldn’t be treated as a controlled drug and is useful in treating seizures and related conditions. And in June fo 2018, the FDA approved the first cannabis-derived drug.

There are many in the autism community who still don’t have access to medical marijuana because autism isn’t always an approved condition for medical marijuana in their state. But in the State of Michigan, the wait is over.

Photo: AdobeStock/William Casey
Photo: AdobeStock/William Casey

The New Approvals

In July of 2018 , the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs in Michigan announced that it was adding 11 conditions to the 11 already on the list of those that qualify for a medical marijuana license in Michigan. It also denied 11 conditions.

The changes, according to Department Director Shelly Edgerton, were based on changes in state laws, new marijuana research, and recommendations by panel members.

The Department approved the following conditions as qualifying for medical marijuana:

Photo: Pixabay/herbalhemp
Photo: Pixabay/herbalhemp
  • Autism
  • Arthritis
  • Chronic Pain
  • Colitis
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Tourette’s syndrome
  • Ulcerative colitis

The following conditions were denied inclusion:

  • Anxiety
  • Asthma
  • Brain injury
  • Depression
  • Diabetes
  • Gastric ulcer
  • Non-severe/non-chronic pain
  • Organ transplant
  • Panic attacks
  • Schizophrenia
  • Social anxiety disorder

The list already includes cancer, glaucoma, hepatitis C, AIDS, PTSD, Crohn’s disease, and chronic diseases that result in nausea, pain, or seizures.

Photo: AdobeStock/denissimonov
Photo: AdobeStock/denissimonov

Dr. David Crocker of Michigan Holistic Health said that the approval of the 11 conditions was “way overdue” and that, while long-term research on autism and marijuana is still lacking, he’s seen marijuana help those with autism manage overstimulation. Some parents report that CBD has been like a miracle drug, helping their children reconnect with the world.

The feeling toward medical marijuana, and indeed toward marijuana in general, seems to be softening. There is no lack of anecdotal evidence about medical marijuana and CBD oil reducing anxiety and aggression in those with autism, and Scott Badesch, President of the Autism Society of America, told High Times that he’s heard a lot of praise for medical marijuana from parents of children with autism, and he hasn’t had anyone tell him that marijuana didn’t help. But the Society, and the rest of the country, is looking for more definitive research.

Photo: AdobeStock/rocketclips
Photo: AdobeStock/rocketclips

Two major studies in the United States, one in New York and one in San Diego, hope to shed light on the relationship between medical marijuana, CBD, and autism and how and why they interact. The final results of those studies are still years away, but the paradigm is already shifting.

The US FDA approved the first cannabis-derived drug (for the treatment of epilepsy) in June of 2018, and promised continued support for “rigorous scientific research on the potential medical uses of marijuana-derived products…” Some suspect that this may be the first of several cannabis-derived drugs to be approved.

Michigan will vote on a bill to legalize recreational marijuana in November of 2018.

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