LANSING, MI - The Medical Marihuana Review Panel on Friday took public comment on whether the state should add 22 new conditions to those that qualify patients to be treated with medical marijuana.
There are a set of conditions Michigan doctors can treat with medical marijuana currently, things like Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Cancer and Glaucoma. Michiganders can submit petitions asking for other conditions to be added to that list.
The panel, made up of medical professionals, makes a recommendation on whether to add those conditions as things to be treated with medical marijuana. Ultimately the director of the state Department of Licensing and Regulatory affairs makes the decision.
Andrew Brisbo, director of the Bureau of Medical Marihuana Regulation, said the list was a living document to account for new medical information.
"I think the legislature and the ballot initiative, they wanted to make sure that was honored, that they didn't have all the answers in the beginning so if evidence is provided as medicine continues to evolve there is an open door for new conditions to be considered," Brisbo said.
"I think the panel is an important piece of this process so the department can get some expert review of this information and they can make an informed recommendation to the department director."
The panel on Friday met to take public input on whether to add these 22 new conditions to the list of to debilitating medical conditions in the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act:
- Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
- Panic attacks
- Social Anxiety Disorder
- Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Brain injury
- Spinal cord injury
- Gastric Ulcer
- Inflammatory Bowel Disease
- Ulcerative Colitis
- Organ transplant
- Non-severe and non-chronic pain
- Tourette's Syndrome
- Chronic pain
Dakota Blue Serna, of Kalamazoo, is a Marine Corps veteran battling PTSD and other injuries sustained during his service and training.
He testified years ago in support of putting PTSD on the list, and treating with cannabis has worked for him.
"This panel gave me my life back," he told the group of doctors.
Now, he's hoping people with other conditions will get that same chance.
"We need to get on board with morality and ethics and treat these people for conditions that western medicine has kind of tossed aside," he said, urging the board to approve all the conditions presented.
Dr. Paul Meyer told the panel he had always included holistic treatments in his practice and started certifying patients for medical marijuana use in 2009. He wasn't sure what to expect, but most patients who requested it were older people with chronic conditions. He's like to see the list expanded.
"There's good documentation for all of them that cannabis is safe and effective," he said.
The department received 115 petitions to add new conditions to the list. The 22 being considered are those that were complete. The panel meets again on May 4, and could make its recommendation at that point. The department director will make the final decision on which condidtions are added to the list.
The following conditions are already covered in the current list and can be treated with medical marijuana:
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
- Positive status for Human Immunodeficiency Virus
- Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome
- Hepatitis C
- Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis
- Crohn's Disease
- Agitation of Alzheimer's disease
- Nail Patella, or the treatment of these conditions
- Other chronic or debilitating diseases and medical conditions or treatments that produce cachexia or Wasting Syndrome; severe and chronic pain; severe nausea; seizures, including those characteristic of epilepsy; and severe and persistent muscle spasms, such as those characteristic of multiple sclerosis.