News Article Details

No legal pot relief for Bengals, Browns fans

The Blade - 2/13/2020

Feb. 12--COLUMBUS -- Being a die-hard fan of the Cleveland Browns and Cincinnati Bengals may often bring pain and suffering, but a medical panel on Wednesday was unconvinced that using medical marijuana could be the cure for what ails.

A committee of the State Medical Board agreed to allow three conditions -- autism, anxiety, and cachexia wasting -- to proceed to the next round of consideration as to whether they should be added to the 21 conditions spelled out in Ohio law that qualify patients for cannabis treatment.

Without comment, the four-doctor committee unanimously rejected Brown-Bengal syndrome along with more than a dozen others for a variety of reasons. Likely someone's idea of a joke, the online sports fan proposal made no attempt at scientific justification, although others might argue there's plenty of anecdotal evidence out there..

Separately, after further discussion, the panel also agreed not to continue consideration of marijuana as a treatment for depression, insomnia, or opioid disorder. The panel determined not enough had changed since depression and insomnia were rejected a year ago.

While noting studies have suggested marijuana might be beneficial in helping with pain, anxiety, and cravings associated with opioid abuse, the panel raised concerns about using a "potentially addictive" substance to treat an addiction.

"The concern for me is that you could actually be making opioid disorder worse and potentially increase the chance of relapse by activating that rewards circuit in the brain that is so sensitive," said Dr. Michael Schottenstein, president of the full board.

Final decisions will be made by the board this summer. The public can weigh in on the proposals through March 1 via

The full board rejected both autism and anxiety a year ago, but the panel will now bring in experts and look at more recent research in those areas. This marks the first time it will consider cachexia, the weakening and wasting of the body due to severe illnesses like AIDS and cancer.

The board last year received 110 online petitions, many of them revolving around the same conditions being pushed again this year. None won final approval last year.

That first year of considerations in 2018 began before the state infrastructure of growing facilities, laboratories, processors, dispensaries, and certified physicians had been fully set up. In fact, it began before the first product had been legally sold here. Now the state has a year of experience under its belt.

This cycle, the online window for which closed on Dec. 31, drew 27 petitions, some of which were eliminated without comment because they sought approval for conditions already covered under the law such as HIV, AIDS, Parkinson's disease, cancer, and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Current law lists 21 conditions allowing patients to seek recommendations from physicians to buy Ohio-grown and processed products. The others are amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Alzheimer's disease, chronic traumatic encephalopathy, Crohn's disease, epilepsy or other seizure disorder, fibromyalgia, glaucoma, hepatitis C, inflammatory bowel disease, multiple sclerosis, chronic or intractable pain, sickle cell anemia, spinal cord disease or injury, Tourette's syndrome, traumatic brain injury, and ulcerative colitis.

Medical marijuana advocates have conjectured that autism may have the best chance of winning approval.

House Bill 523, the ground-breaking law that legalized marijuana for medical purposes only, allows the use of cannabis in vapor, oil, tincture, patch, edible, and plant matter forms, but smoking and home-growing remain illegal.

The system is designed for the state to keep a stranglehold on the production and sale of legal marijuana products. The plant, however, remains illegal in the eyes of federal law.


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