The State Medical Board of Ohio, which oversees the state’s medical cannabis program, decided against allowing those who suffer from anxiety and autism spectrum disorder to use medical marijuana.
The decision to reject the carefully crafted petitions to add the two ailments to the list of Ohio’s 21 qualifying conditions came as a devastating disappointment to Ohioans who suffer from these ailments and to the families of autistic children and adults.
Decision was taken on September 11th
“On this historically symbolic day in September, the Ohio State Medical board voted to deny access to autism and anxiety. This day already symbolizes loss, death and tragedy, the board solidified this sentiment by denying access to these medically fragile individuals,” said Tiffany Carwile, founder and director of the Ohio chapter of Mothers Advocating Medical Marijuana for Autism (MAMMA).
“This is medical terrorism.”
Carwile, whose son suffers from severe autism, explained that of the existing qualifying conditions in Ohio, ten of them are comorbidly implicated within autism, such as PTSD, Tourette’s, Seizures/Epilepsy, Chronic pain, and several other neurological conditions like Parkinson's and Alzheimer's.
“Now, if autism is one condition entailing 10 out of the 21 qualifying conditions that are already approved for medical marijuana in Ohio, why is autism spectrum disorder not already a qualifying condition?” Carwile asks.
Dr. Michael Schottenstein, a member of the expert review committee that opposed adding autism and anxiety as a qualifying condition, said “Approval feels premature at this time” until there is more research on the subject.
Not a reasonable argument
“Seventeen states plus the territory of Puerto Rico, recognize autism as a qualifying condition for medical cannabis, including pediatric use,” Carwile points out. “An additional seven states recognize autism spectrum disorder as a debilitating condition, and allow access with a doctor’s recommendation.”
As the mother of two children, one of whom is on the severe end of the spectrum, Carwile and MAMMA will continue the struggle for medical marijuana.
“I have spent years of my life fighting for Ohio and this is a very big blow for me to endure. But, trust me, I didn't come this far, to only come this far,” Carwile said.