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Medical Marijuana Review Panel approves 10 conditions

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Michael Komorn

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Parents and caregivers of children and persons with Autistic Spectrum Disorder have been fighting to try medical marijuana as an option after exhausting all other treatment options available. This fight has been going on for at least 5 years, when LARA denied the petition for autism in 2013. In 2013, the review panel voted 2 yes and 7 no votes.

 

The 2013 petition lacked any research or studies, so parents Dwight Z. and Dr Christian Bogner submitted a new autism petition with studies and help from researcher Joe Stone in 2014.

LARA rejected the 2014 petition because they had made a "final decision" on autism in 2013. Michael Komorn, president of the Michigan Medical Marijuana Association, filed a lawsuit against LARA to get them to hear the 2014 petition. After months of stalling from LARA they finally decided to hear the petition, and in May 2015, the review panel heard the petition and testimony. LARA tried a dirty trick by not sending the research and studies to the panel. This was brought to the attention of the panel that research was submitted, so the board came back a week later to give time to the panelists to review the research. The panel then voted 4 yes and 2 no votes to approve Autism as a qualifying condition.

 

In August 2015, the Director of LARA, Mike Zimmer, then rejected adding autism as a qualifying condition to the Medical Marihuana program against the wishes of the panel. In his rejection, Mr. Zimmer gave the reason that edibles may be illegal due to a confusing ruling from the Court of Appeals among other objections. 

 

Parents and caregivers of people diagnosed with autism continued to fight, and worked together to submit another autism petition. Adding 20 new peer-reviewed research studies from the past 4 years. The new autism petition was submitted in February and was sent by LARA and heard by the review panel on 4-27-2018. Wonderful and brave parents Amie Carter and Jamie Cooper testified before the panel, laying their hearts and family stories out there for the world to gawk at.

 

At the following review panel meeting on 5-4-2018, the review panel approved of 10 conditions including Autism in a 6 yes and 1 no vote.

Voting no on a condition is voting to subject the rejected-condition patient to arrest for the medical use or possession of marihuana.

A suggestion was made by a panel member that the marijuana legalization ballot initiative would save any concerns for the denied patient conditions. This is not true. There are several differences between legalization and the medical marijuana program that would negatively affect a patient.

First, the recreational marijuana initiative will apply a large tax and other costs that would not apply to patients if they were part of the MMM program.

Second, patients are treated in the law differently regarding several issues.

·       Driving

·       Housing

·       CPS / Parenting / Custody issues

·       Employment

·       Immunities and Affirmative Defense

Patients should not be punished for their use of cannabis when it is medical and not for adult recreation.

Medical use and recreational use have significant distinctions, that were played out in the discussion of the panel and specifically the experience shared by Dr. Crocker who sees a variety patients with various diseases that are treated by cannabis. It makes no sense to deny the petition for these conditions when the evidence supports the therapeutic and palliative relief.

 

1.  The panel are ignoring the reality of what a “no vote” is and means to patients.

2.  The excuses used to deny or vote no have been:

·       Not enough research

·       Not enough clinical trials

Panel members have lamented on this topic for years, but this argument makes no sense. Why would they approve of some conditions but not others, as they have given this reason for rejecting conditions? No condition has been thoroughly researched to use with marijuana. Absolutely zero clinical trials for any condition have been performed with crude marijuana flowers. Even though marijuana smoking has been shown to absolutely stop epileptic seizures, reduce eye pressure in glaucoma patients, open up airways in asthma patients, return appetite to AIDS patients, prevent nausea, reduce anxiety/stress and control pain signals.

There are few, small, less than 100 people research studies on a few small conditions. Those studies are conducted only with Marinol, Sativex or other pharmaceutical formulations, not crude marihuana flowers and extracts. The FDA refuses to study crude marijuana extracts and flowers, and prefers a mono chemical therapy. One plant chemical, THC. Recently the FDA has been testing CBD. Two plant chemicals total from over 400 known cannabinoids (plant chemicals) within the cannabis plant.

 

At this rate, the FDA will have tested each of the 400 cannabinoids separately within 16,000 years. Counting 40 years for THC-only studies, 40 years x 400 cannabinoids = 16,000 years.

 

Which is why, the American people have bypassed the FDA and have approved marijuana as a medicine on a state by state basis. Sick people cannot wait for the FDA to continue to hamper research and deny that marijuana is a medicine. All because the FDA refuses and prefers a single chemical standardized consistent drug.

These are terrible reasons because research on marijuana has been hampered. We mentioned this in our petition 

https://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/19/health/policy/19marijuana.html

 

Quote

“As the National Institute on Drug Abuse, our focus is primarily on
the negative consequences of marijuana use,” said Shirley Simson, a
spokeswoman for the drug abuse institute, known as NIDA. “We generally
do not fund research focused on the potential beneficial medical
effects of marijuana.”


·       Dr. Crocker and other physicians have conflated marijuana smoke and tobacco smoke and then offered and relied upon this unproven fact that the two smokes are the same and have the same health effects.

 

Marijuana smoke is different than Tobacco smoke and has different effects on humans and animals.

See The large studies on lung function by Dr Tashkin and all of the other studies that show the only difference between a non-smoker and a marijuana-only smoker is that the marijuana-only smoker has a larger forced air lung capacity.

Effects of smoked marijuana in experimentally induced asthma.

Quote

After experimental induction of acute bronchospasm in 8 subjects with clinically stable bronchial asthma, effects of 500 mg of smoked marijuana (2.0 per cent delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol) on specific airway conductance and thoracic gas volume were compared with those of 500 mg of smoked placebo marijuana (0.0 per cent delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol), 0.25 ml of aerosolized saline, and 0.25 ml of aerosolized isoproterenol (1,250 mug). After exercise-induced bronchospasm, placebo marijuana and saline were followed by gradual recovery during 30 to 60 min, whereas 2.0 per cent marijuana and isoproterenol caused an immediate reversal of exercise-induced asthma and hyperinflation.

Our present findings and those previously reported demonstrated acute airway dilatation after smoked marijuana.

Effects of cannabis on lung function: a population-based cohort study

Quote

Cumulative cannabis use was associated with higher forced vital capacity, total lung capacity, functional residual capacity and residual volume. Cannabis was also associated with higher airway resistance but not with forced expiratory volume in 1 s, forced expiratory ratio or transfer factor. These findings were similar among those who did not smoke tobacco

 

·       Legalization, if the review panel does not approve a condition, the sick patient can possess by adult recreational means.

The review panelist who made this comment is a physician and in her reason for denial of the petition is saying that a person should self-medicate! Unheard of advice from a physician.

 

·       The panel mentioned several times that they wanted “severe” conditions, severe brain injury vs brain injury or severe autism vs autism.

 

Aren't people with less severe conditions allowed treatment? Are we equal or are severe conditions more important? Nothing about this reason makes any sense to deny a condition from this non-toxic safe medication.

 

The review panel is supposed to look at each individual petition, and only those petitions, to determine if the condition should be added to the MMMA. Frequently, the panel members have made comments or asked questions about other conditions while debating petitions.

"Why are we voting on "chronic pain" when "severe and chronic pain" is a qualifying condition?"

"Why are there petitions for Arthritis and Rheumatoid Arthritis?"

"Brain Injury is too vague, but Traumatic Brain Injury is a condition that may be more appropriate"

"Colitis is too broad, colitis can be infectious or non-infectious" 

 

Panelist Dr Lewandowski said there was only one "good" study that showed "clinical improvement with dronabinol in this submission" of obsessive compulsive disorder and "this meet the expectation in support of peer-reviewed information".

All of the research we submitted in our petitions was peer-reviewed except for one paper on Autism, all of the studies showed palliative or therapeutic benefit and efficacy. The requirements by LARA are the following:

  • Provide a summary of the evidence that the use of marihuana will provide palliative or therapeutic benefit for that medical condition or a treatment of that medical condition. Rule 33(1)(a).
  • Include articles published in peer-reviewed scientific journals reporting the results of research on the effects of marihuana on the medical condition or treatment of the medical condition and supporting why the medical condition or treatment should be added to the list of debilitating medical conditions under section 3(b) of the MMMA, MCL 333.26423(b). Rule 33(1)(b). 

 

Note that Lewandowski's remarks about clinical improvement is not a requirement within the MMMA, the LARA Administrative rules, nor the Petitions themselves. The whole point about medical marijuana programs is that we cannot get marijuana into clinical studies. Cannabis's schedule 1 status, FDA monotherapy rules, NIDA grant bias for harms not benefits, DEA hoop jumping, propaganda and political football including bribery, corruption and market forces (from private prison unions, alcohol, tobacco and Big Pharma industry not wanting competition) makes it incredibly difficult and near impossible to study marijuana for medical benefits.

 

Tabled conditions:

·       Non chronic non severe pain

·       Colitis

·       Organ Transplant

 

 

 

 

 

Quote

 

Michigan board recommends 10 more conditions qualify for medical marijuana use

Updated 12:21 PM; Posted 11:52 AM

The Medical Marihuana Review Panel met Friday, May 4, 2018. (Emily Lawler | MLive.com)

By Emily Lawler

LANSING, MI - A state board on Friday recommended the approval of 10 new conditions that could qualify people to use 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 Medical Marihuana Review Panel, made up largely of medical professionals, is charged with making recommendations on whether to add new conditions as things to be treated with medical marijuana. Ultimately the director of the state Department of Licensing and Regulatory affairs makes the decision.

Recently the panel was presented with 22 new conditions people asked them to recommend for approval. Citizens last week testified in support of approving all the new conditions.

 

 

The panel recommended the approval of the following conditions for treatment with medical marijuana:

-          Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

-          spinal cord injury

-          Rheumatoid Arthritis

-          Arthritis

-          Inflammatory Bowel Disease

-          ulcerative colitis

-          Parkinson's

-          Tourette's Syndrome

-          Autism

-          Chronic pain

But the board rejected nine conditions people had asked to be added to the list of qualifying conditions. Those rejected conditions include anxiety, depression, panic attacks, schizophrenia, social anxiety disorder, brain injury, asthma, diabetes and gastric ulcer.

Board member Dr. David Crocker was in favor of allowing anxiety as a qualifying condition for medical marijuana use.

"I think if used properly and judiciously it's very, very effective," he said.

Dr. Jeanne Lewandowski, however, voiced concerns.

"I do not believe that this petition supports documentation and information that identifies the diagnosis of anxiety as a qualifying condition," she said.

The board voted 4-2 to recommend the condition of Anxiety not be approved. The votes on the other conditions recommended denial were often split, as well.

On three conditions -- colitis, organ transplant, and non-severe and non-chronic pain - the board deadlocked. They tabled the vote on those conditions, and chair Dr. Eden Wells said they would come back to those at a future meeting with additional board members who may be able to break a tie.

From here the recommendations head to the director of the Department of Licensing and Regulator Affairs, Sally Edgarton. Per a statutory time limit she has until July 10 to make a decision on whether to approve the conditions the board recommended for approval. 

 

 

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So it is still up to the LARA Director to give final approval. Has he/she ever rejected a recommendation from the panel?

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The panel recommended that director Mike Zimmer add autism to the Act a couple of years ago, but he denied even after the panel approved 4-2. This is the second time we have run an autism petition. On this petition, the vote was 5-1, and we flipped one of the members that previously voted "no." I have a good feeling about the final determination.

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I have suffered from Ulcerative Colitis for over 15 years, in remission for the past 3 years....until this February when I was hit with a Norovirus which activated my UC with the most horrible severe symptoms that would not go away.  My son gave me a dose of full spectrum extract oil suspension with no THC.  Symptoms were stopped in their tracks, then started coming back after 2 days.  I took a total of 4 doses of this medicine over a 3 week period, and completely reverted to remission again with no additional doses needed.  My gastro doc is talking removal of my colon with a colostomy as the only option if symptoms continue.  This extract literally saved my colon.  The only "side effect" I had was that it also took away my hip inflammation.  

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