The state’s medical marijuana program got five new conditions for treatment at the latest Board of Physicians meeting.
Treating More Conditions With Marijuana
The program currently has over 33,000 patients and 1,111 prescribing physicians. The conditions added to this program include:
- Interstitial Cystitis for adults only
- Intractable Neuropathic Pain that is unresponsive to standard patients
- Median Arcuate Ligament Syndrome
- Tourette Syndrome
- Vulvodynia and Vulvar Burning
These five conditions that are getting included in the Medical Marijuana Program’s regulations should get approved by the Regulations Review Committee of the Connecticut General Assembly.
What About Patients With Chronic Pain?
However, chronic pain did not make it to this list. Instead, the committee tabled the decision about adding it to the list for a meeting in the future. Despite a pitch to include it by Brian Essenter, a medical marijuana counselor, the board took this decision.
Essenter informed the board that multiple states allow treating chronic pain with medical marijuana.
Essenter stated that with the cracking down on opioid prescriptions in the state because of overdose, patients who suffer from chronic pain are looking at alternatives.
He mentioned that many other states had successfully weaned patients off opioid prescriptions with medical marijuana. He also stated that adding chronic pain to the list was not about getting high but about improving the patients’ quality of life.
How Connecticut Arrest Numbers Could Impact the Decision
The records for marijuana bail bonds and bail for other drug charges show that Connecticut has seen its fair share of drug abuse. However, there is potential for the benefits of medical marijuana in cases of chronic pain to outweigh those possible negatives of drug abuse.
Board members, however, said that the problem with adding chronic pain as a condition to the list was that its definition needed to be further narrowed down.
Dr. Jonathan Kost stated that they needed to take care about not keeping the definition too broad. He and other board members felt they needed more time to determine whether any specific conditions could be connected to the category of chronic pain.
The next meeting to discuss adding chronic pain to the list will be announced once the date is decided. All officials involved will further discuss potentially adding chronic pain to the list during that meeting. They will also discuss whether the condition should be further narrowed and clearly defined before adding it to the program.
Consumer Protection Commissioner Michelle H. Seagull said that she wanted to thank all the people who testified at the meeting and the Board of Physicians for their thoughtful discussion. She mentioned that the program relied on the guidance and advice that was received from the medical community, which includes the Board. Michelle was happy with how the state’s program had developed to support over 30,000 patients suffering from severe conditions.
The Future of Medical Marijuana Accessibility in Connecticut
While all efforts to make recreational marijuana legal have been paused in the legislature in the state for the last few years, the Medical Marijuana Program has grown considerably during that period in Connecticut. It today treats over 30 medical problems.
Nine new dispensaries were approved in New Haven, Stamford, Meriden, Westport, Torrington, Newington, Groton, Windham, and Mansfield. Seagull stated that one of the main goals of setting up additional dispensaries was to ensure all patients that need medical marijuana don’t have to go very far to get it.