The Michigan Medical Marijuana Law Review Panel voted 4 to 2 in favor of adding autism to the list of conditions which qualify for medical marijuana in the Wolverine State.
Autism was considered by the panel because of a petition started by Lisa Smith, a mother who has seen the positive effects that cannabis oil has had on her 6-year-old son. Smith says she has seen an improvement in his sleep patterns, overall behavior and diet.
Since the 2008 approval of medical marijuana in Michigan, autism is the second condition that has been added to the state’s list, joining post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which was approved last year.
David Crocker, a medical marijuana doctor and member of the Medical Marijuana Review Panel, commented on the recent vote:
“The parents I’ve talked to are passionate and adamant that this represents a dramatic improvement in the quality of life for them and their affected children.”
The two votes against the petition stemmed from both panel members questioning the possible negative impact that cannabis could have on a developing brain.
Dr. Ronald bradley, chief of psychiatry and professor at Central Michigan University’s College of Medicine, spoke on the issue:
“Palliative care, I understand immensely. What I don’t understand, in terms of child or adolescent development, is what harm we’re going to do.”
The petition was originally turned down in 2013, but Smith was able to sue for the panel to reconsider. The most recent petition included hundreds of pages of research on cannabis and autism that were not apart of the 2013 edition. Smith learned about the benefits that cannabis oil therapy can have on autism through watching how it helped her son. He was recommended medical marijuana to treat epilepsy, which was already on the list of qualifying conditions.
Children in Michigan will only be able to use medical marijuana if they receive two doctor recommendations and a parent acts as the caregiver.
The approved recommendation will now be sent to Mike Zimmer, the director of the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs, who has the final say on the addition of autism to the law.