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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. 10/4/13 Final Determination of Department - Autism 8/27/15 Final Determination of Department - Autism 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 · 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. Effects of cannabis on lung function: a population-based cohort study · 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
A large private donation will fund another study on using medical marijuana for autism. But this is not the first, nor is it the last clinical study on marijuana for autism. Marijuana aka Cannabis regulates the body and mind into a more normative state. Cannabis is also a very strong anti-inflammatory, and thus relieves a lot of pain. Many people with autism also suffer from pain, but are unable to communicate their pain. The autistic person in pain unable to communicate then manifests into aggression, irritability, self-injurious behavior, screaming and other outbursts. With the help of parents and physicians, the Michigan Medical Marihuana Association has submitted autism to be a qualifying condition again with the Michigan Medical Marihuana Review Panel. There will be a meeting on May 4th 2018 at 9am in Lansing, MI where the panel will vote on autism along with 21 other new proposed conditions. Please if you can show up to the meeting and give your support to the board members so they support adding these conditions to the Michigan Medical Marijuana Program. While we at the MMMA of course support more research on cannabis for all conditions, it is cruel to prohibit this safe non-toxic medicine from people who suffer and may already be using cannabis illegally to treat autism. If you want to leave a public comment, the deadline is 5/3/2018 at 5pm to email comments to LARA-BMMR-Legal@michigan.gov http://komornlaw.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/MMRP_Notice_of_Public_Hearing_5.4.18_618072_7.pdf http://komornlaw.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/MMRP_Notice_of_Public_Hearing_4.27.18_618073_7.pdf Autism is a qualifying medical marijuana condition in California, Minnesota and Pennsylvania. https://www.pa.gov/guides/pennsylvania-medical-marijuana-program/ http://www.health.state.mn.us/news/pressrel/2017/cannabis113017.html https://www.mprnews.org/story/2017/11/30/minnesota-oks-medical-marijuana-for-autism-apnea The main "treatment" for autism is Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA). ABA is mostly about teaching behaviors and correcting unwanted behaviors as you would train a dog or animal. ABA does not treat the person itself, nor does it diagnose, treat or check for pain or discomfort. ABA is akin to a nun using capital punishment using whips and canes to "fix problem children". https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/312723 https://www.cmcr.ucsd.edu/index.php/2015-11-20-20-52-15/active-studies/123-the-effects-of-cannabidiol-cbd-on-symptoms-of-severe-autism Although the above clinical trial is still in Phase 1 and has not started yet, there are other clinical trials which have advanced to phase 2. An interesting clinical trial below is part of the US Department of Defense budget. https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT03202303 This clinical trial in Israel seems to be more fleshed out and has more information. https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT02956226 http://www.nbc4i.com/news/u-s-world/dad-uses-medical-marijuana-to-treat-daughter-with-autism/1102805672 http://www.wfla.com/community/health/tampa-doctor-uses-medical-marijuana-to-treat-patients-with-autism/1153159741