KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) — There could soon be more qualifying conditions Michigan’s medical marijuana program.
The state’s Medical Marihuana Review Panel recommended 10 additional health conditions on Friday, which include:
- Chronic pain
- Inflammatory Bowel Disease
- Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
- Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Spinal cord injury
- Tourette’s Syndrome
- Ulcerative Colitis
Dr. David Crocker, owner of Michigan Holistic Health, said autism may be the most significant recommendation.
Crocker explained some of his patients with autism previously qualified for the medical marijuana program due seizures or a cancer diagnosis, and those patients found the effects to be two-fold.
“On their return visits, (they) talked about how well it was working for their autism,” he said.
The MMRP recommended adding autism to the list of qualifying conditions in 2015, but the then-director of Michigan’s Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs rejected the recommendation.
“We’re very optimistic that the new LARA director will sign off on those (new recommendations),” Crocker said.
Patients with autism have told Crocker stories of medical marijuana calming the chaos when their senses may otherwise be overloaded.
“Marijuana makes the world a little less threatening for them. They tend to be more sociable, better quality of lives, more verbal (and) they often are able to go back to school,” Crocker said.
Dr. Eden Wells, the state’s chief medical executive, issued a statement to 24 Hour News 8 that said, “As noted by the petitioners, there are parents of children with autism that have experienced positive outcomes through the use of cannabinoids.
“There is increasing experience over the last several years within the scientific community in examining the relationship between cannabinoids and how they may alleviate the symptoms of some severe disorders, including autism,” the statement continued.
Wells said she can’t recommend medical marijuana as a medication for autism until clinical studies are all complete. However, Crocker said he believes doctors should at least have the option to explore it as treatment.
“Just because we as a panel say that autism should be available as a qualifying condition, there’s still – the patient and their physician – still have to decide that in their specific case it’s appropriate,” Crocker explained.
Shelly Edgerton, the LARA director, has until July 10 to make a decision on the panel’s recommendations.