Illinois board OKs migraines, PTSD for medical marijuana treatment

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A state-appointed advisory panel suggested Monday that migraines, irritable bowel syndrome and post-traumatic stress disorder should be added to conditions that may be treated by medical marijuana in Illinois.

But diabetes and anxiety did not receive the backing of the Illinois Medical Cannabis Advisory Board, which met in the Thompson Center. The panel heard from advocates and detractors before board members voted on whether to endorse the use of marijuana to treat each medical condition. A majority vote was needed to garner a recommendation. The state will take the recommendations into consideration before final rejection or approval of each condition.

The group also suggested green-lighting the use of marijuana to treat osteoarthritis — the most common form of arthritis — as well as peripheral polyneuropathy and diabetic neuropathy, which are forms of nerve damage. The eating disorder anorexia nervosa also was recommended for approval. But essential thrombocythemia, a blood disorder, did not receive their backing.

“We evaluated each symptom on the merits,” said Jim Champion, a board member and military veteran.

“If a condition didn’t get approved it was because either we couldn’t find the medical rationale or the scientific evidence to justify it,” said Leslie Mendoza Temple, a physician and chair of the advisory board. “Or the condition was too broad — such as anxiety. There are many different kinds of anxiety. Everyone can have anxiety because it’s an emotional state. We needed more specificity.”

There are currently about 40 medical conditions that allow for the use of medical marijuana in Illinois.

Qualifying patients are still waiting for their marijuana because of delays in the state licensing process for growers and dispensers of the drug.

Other conditions that received the panel’s backing on Monday include: chronic post-operative pain; Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, a condition that can lead to repetitive joint dislocation; Neuro-Behcet’s autoimmune disease, which is similar to multiple sclerosis with the addition of ulcers in the mouth and genital area; polycystic kidney disease, an inherited disorder in which clusters of cysts develop primarily within kidneys; and superior canal dehiscence syndrome, an inner ear condition that can lead to chronic vertigo and hyper sensitivity to sound.

The advisory board consists of several doctors, nurses, patients, a pharmacist and a medical ethicist.

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