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Panel approves new conditions for medical marijuana use

May 4, 2018

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A state panel will recommend that ten new conditions be added to the list of acceptable reasons for medical marijuana use.

The panel of medical experts approved conditions like arthritis, obsessive compulsive disorder, spinal cord injury, and chronic pain.

But the panel wasn’t in favor of adding several mental health disorders – like anxiety and depression.

Dr. Eden Wells is Michigan’s top doctor and on the board. She says the petitions for most of the mental health conditions were too broad.

"Many of us maybe at any given time of the day might feel anxious about a certain issue, a test is coming up or whatever, and that’s a very mild form and I found that to be a bit broad,” Wells said, adding that for other conditions – like schizophrenia – the science isn’t there yet to say marijuana is helpful.

The panel deadlocked on three petitions – including non-severe and non-chronic pain. The law already allows people with severe and chronic pain to use medical marijuana.

Dr. David Crocker is on the panel. He says adding non-severe and non-chronic pain could help lower the use of opioids. That’s because he says doctors could prescribe cannabis instead of opioids after surgery and for other short-term reasons.

“I think in the interest of patient service, risk management and just general compassion, I think we ought to consider saying yes to this condition,” Crocker said.

The conditions the board deadlocked on were set aside. The board says it’ll meet again soon to try and get to a majority decision.

The recommendations now go the director of the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs for a final decision.