State Medical Board of Ohio recommends adding autism and anxiety to list of qualifying conditions for cannabis

ASD and anxiety will progress to a final vote scheduled for mid-June

Bethan Rose Jenkins, Cannabis News Writer/Editorial

Residents of Ohio who suffer from autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and/or anxiety could soon become eligible to get a prescription for pharmaceutical cannabis-based medicines. Earlier this month, the conditions were recommended by lawmakers for inclusion on Ohio’s list of medical cannabis qualifications. A 12-strong medical board in “the Buckeye State” will make an official vote on June 12.

Lawmakers from the medical board committee have been contemplating adding five new conditions to the list since the beginning of the year. Those five conditions were ASD, anxiety, depression, insomnia, and opiate use disorder. Four months after members of the State Medical Board of Ohio started studying the conditions, the board’s advisory committee finally revealed that, due to lack of research, it would not yet be adding depression, insomnia, and opiate use disorder to the list of qualifying conditions.

ASD and anxiety recommended by Ohio lawmakers as qualifying conditions for medical cannabis

According to statistics for 2019, Ohio is home to 11.73 million people. In the event that all five conditions had been approved by lawmakers, over half of the residents living in Ohio would have been eligible to enroll in the state’s medical cannabis program.

All hope is not lost, however, what with ASD and anxiety progressing to a final vote scheduled for mid-June. ASD affects around 44,000 children in Ohio. Children who suffer from a neurodevelopmental disorder like ASD will find it difficult to communicate with other children. Cannabis’ calming and soothing effects have proven effective for encouraging better communication and behavior amongst children with different types of ASD.

Anxiety impacts the lives of 1.6 million Ohioans. Numerous studies have shown how cannabis could greatly reduce anxiety, depression, and stress, with this particular study demonstrating the plant’s antidepressant-like and anxiolytic-like effects.

What are Ohio’s qualifying conditions for medical cannabis?

Medical cannabis has been legalized in 33 U.S. States and the District of Columbia. Back in June of 2016, medical cannabis was officially legalized throughout Ohio. However, legal medical cannabis sales did not commence until January of 2019.

A joint effort between the Ohio Department of Commerce, State Medical Board, and State Pharmacy Board, the medical cannabis program is open to patients who suffer from the following conditions and/or ailments:

  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
  • Cancer
  • Chronic pain
  • Chronic traumatic encephalopathy
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Epilepsy/seizure disorders
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Glaucoma
  • Hepatitis C
  • Inflammatory bowel disease (IBS)
  • Multiple sclerosis (MS)
  • Parkinson’s disease  
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Sickle cell anemia
  • Spinal cord diseases and/or injuries
  • Tourette’s syndrome
  • Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
  • Ulcerative colitis (UC)

Ohio also permits medical cannabis as a treatment for chronic traumatic encephalopathy

In addition to the aforementioned medical conditions and ailments, the State of Ohio also provides its residents with the opportunity to treat chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) using cannabis. Currently, Ohio is the only U.S. State to permit weed as a treatment for CTE. The neurodegenerative disease is common among military veterans, sports professionals and boxers.