The Medical Board of Ohio looked at adding five medical conditions to its list of 21 ailments that can be treated with medical marijuana legally. The list included depression, insomnia, anxiety, autism, and opioid use disorder. But the panel decided May 8 only autism and anxiety can be officially added.
The verdict was a blow for recovering opioid addicts, but Tess Pollock, spokeswoman for the board, told reporters “treating addiction should not be confused with using medical marijuana to treat pain.”
Since the Buck Eye state opened legal medical pot dispensaries on Jan. 1, more than 30,000 patients registered with sales surpassing US$5.8 million.
Currently, there are a total of 33 states that have medical marijuana programs that vary state by state in what ailments can be treated. Ohio has been one of the more lenient States on qualifying conditions and analysis found nearly one-third of residents in the state would qualify for medical cannabis use based on the conditions that are already approved. That’s approximately 3.5 million patients.
However, medical marijuana requires more clinical research, the state’s panel concluded. The legal status of the drug and lack of concrete findings has made it an uphill battle convincing regulators, doctors and patients about its effectiveness.
Why Ohio Could Prove to be Important for the U.S. Cannabis Market
Clinical researchers and citizens are thirsty for knowledge on pot’s effectiveness in treating conditions and its side effects. But only recently some conditions are being approved for medical marijuana use, which could help health officials collect data. So far, most experts are wary of the endless anecdotal evidence surrounding cannabis. Some physicians and researchers have called for marijuana to be removed Schedule I classification, because the status makes it nearly impossible to conduct extensive research. But with more states accepting medical pot to treat certain ailments, more data can be collected to look at its health benefits.
Ohio is noted as the test market of the U.S., and with easing laws on medical marijuana it could help aid more research on THC, CBD, and other cannabinoids. Studies so far have been minimal, but there have been signs of its effectiveness. One study involved looking at over 400 individuals and found that consumption of cannabis was associated with “significant improvements in perceived insomnia.”
Another study involving depression, which was removed in Ohio’s list of treatable conditions for medical marijuana, also saw a decrease in symptoms and was particularly helpful for women. The study went into specifics of depression treatments that researchers hadn’t seen before:
– Carrie Cuttler, clinical assistant professor of psychology at Washington State University