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Connecticut To Add Qualifying Conditions To Their Law


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Board Votes To Add Ailments To Medical Marijuana Program

Patient Pushes For Better Access To Medical Marijuana

Taylor Dudek lives with chronic pain. She testified Friday, urging a board of physicians to approve two more conditions for eligibility under the state'

 

A state panel of doctors voted Friday to add two entries to the list of debilitating medical conditions they believe should be eligible for treatment by medical marijuana.

At its monthly meeting, the board — under the auspices of the state Department of Consumer Protection — unanimously voted to add “intractable headache syndrome” and “neuropathic facial pain” to the list of new conditions pending approval by the legislature.

 

Their inclusion brings the list of new conditions to seven, joining other illnesses such as fibromyalgia, muscular dystrophy and rheumatoid arthritis.

All seven of the board’s recommendations have been approved by the DCP commissioner, but also need approval from the legislature’s regulation review committee before they take effect.

   

Currently, the state’s medical marijuana statute covers 22 conditions, including cancer, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy and cystic fibrosis. Of those conditions, six apply to childhood patients in the program.

Medicinal Marijuana In Connecticut

 

 

Friday’s meeting was notable in that the two conditions discussed were recommended by the board rather than through a public petition, as others have been previously.

At their June meeting, members of the panel moved to replace the previously approved conditions of migraines and trigeminal neuralgia with the current terms so that “people aren’t excluded because their specific condition is not listed” in the statute.

“Intractable,” in layman’s terms, applies to any condition that cannot be fully controlled by any medicine or procedure. It, like “neuropathic facial pain” is a broad, umbrella term that can describe a number of conditions.

The panel’s vote was preceded by emotionally charged testimony from Taylor Dudek, a teen from Lisbon who lives with “chronic uncontrollable plain” due to a defect in her brain near her spinal cord, she said.

“I don’t remember a day, even a minute without pain,” Dudek, 19, said. “I cant recall a day where I have opened my eyes and the first thought on my mind was something other than the constant throbbing pounding pain in my head.”

Dudek has tried a bevy of treatments — ranging from yoga and acupuncture to neurosurgical procedures — with no relief. The teen, who is studying medicine herself at Bay Path University, said she finds it “disheartening” that doctors have been apt to prescribe her opioids to deal with her constant pain.

“Because of the stigma that surrounds marijuana, I as a person suffering from debilitating conditions am unable to benefit from medically prescribed marijuana because my conditions are not yet listed on the approved list of conditions,” she said.

The state’s medical marijuana program has grown continuously: Currently, 19,117 Connecticut residents are eligible to receive medical marijuana, and 724 physicians are licensed to prescribe.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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