Pa. adding two conditions for medical marijuana treatment

Ioannis Pashakis//July 12, 2019

Pa. adding two conditions for medical marijuana treatment

Ioannis Pashakis//July 12, 2019

Anxiety disorders and Tourette syndrome have been approved by the state as conditions eligible for medical marijuana treatment starting on July 20.

The Pennsylvania Medical Marijuana Advisory board in February recommended adding the two conditions. They were approved on Thursday by Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine.

The conditions are the first to be added to the list using an application system that allows individuals and physicians to ask the advisory board to consider conditions.

Applicants can request a condition be added or removed by sending the board scientific references and documentation that support or deny the benefits of medical marijuana for patients with the recommended conditions.

If the board approves the application, the documentation is then sent to Levine who reviews it and makes the final decision.

The list already includes conditions such as HIV/AIDS, Parkinson’s disease, post-traumatic stress disorder and cancer.

If a condition is on the list, doctors approved by the state’s medical marijuana program can certify a patient diagnosed with the condition to be treated with medical marijuana.

Research into the effects of medical marijuana is kicking into gear.

The state last month approved three entities as so-called clinical registrants, which are partnering with academic institutions to perform clinical trials on the uses of medical marijuana. The registrants will grow, process and distribute the medical marijuana.

The clinical registrants and their academic partners included: Harrisburg-based PA Options for Wellness, affiliated with Penn State College of Medicine; Agronomed Biologics LLC, affiliated with Drexel University of Medicine in Philadelphia; and MLH Explorations LLC, affiliated with Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia.

The clinical trials are expected to provide additional research on the effectiveness of medical marijuana on treating state-approved conditions. If trials show little proof of marijuana’s efficacy in addressing a particular condition, that condition could be removed from the list.