Tourette syndrome and chronic bladder pain are among the conditions being added to Connecticut’s medical marijuana program. Chronic pain will be considered next.
Connecticut’s medical marijuana program continues to expand. This month, five new medical conditions were recommended to be added as qualifying conditions for participating in the state’s medical marijuana program. Those conditions include Tourette syndrome and painful bladder syndrome.
The conditions were initially submitted by public petition to the Department of Consumers Protection’s Board of Physicians. During a June 3 public hearing, five of the six submitted conditions were approved by the state’s Consumer Protection Commissioner, Michelle H. Seagull.
“I want to thank the brave members of the public who testified at today’s meeting and the Board of Physicians for their thoughtful discussion, and deliberation,” Seagull stated in a press release.
“Our program relies on the advice and guidance we receive from the medical community including the Board. I’m pleased with how our program has grown to support well over 30,000 patients with severe debilitating conditions in the state, all while keeping the integrity of this truly medical program in mind.”
The conditions that will be added to Connecticut’s medical marijuana program include:
- Interstitial cystitis, also known as painful bladder syndrome, is a chronic condition that causes bladder pain or pressure, often mistaken for a urinary tract infection. (Recommended for adult patients only)
- Intractable neuropathic pain, or chronic nerve pain that is not able to be treated with standard practices. (Recommended for adults and patients 18 and under)
- Median Arcuate Ligament Syndrome (MALS), also known as celiac artery compression syndrome, is an uncommon disorder found in both children and adults which is characterized by chronic abdominal pain. (Recommended for adult patients only)
- Tourette syndrome, a neurological disorder causing repetitive involuntary movements or involuntary vocalizations. Some common examples include eye blinking, head or shoulder jerking, and throat clearing. (Recommended for adult patients and patients 18 and under who have not been able to find relief from standard medical treatment)
- Vulvodynia and Vulvar Burning, a condition experienced by women causing pain, stinging, or burning sensations in the vulva area. (Recommended for adult patients only)
Chronic pain was not approved by the commissioner, but instead tabled for another meeting. The reason indicated for this decision was to allow for more discussion about whether the condition is too vague. The board wants to consider whether the condition should be more narrowly-worded before being approved and added to the medical marijuana program.
The date of the meeting to discuss chronic pain will be determined later. Connecticut’s new qualifying conditions are still subject to approval by the Connecticut General Assembly’s Regulation Review Committee.
Connecticut’s Growing Medical Marijuana Program
According to local news reports, there are approximately 33,000 people enrolled in Connecticut’s medical marijuana program, a sizeable jump from the 8,000 enrolled in 2016. Nine new medical marijuana dispensaries opened in the state in 2018 alone.
Connecticut’s medical marijuana program started in 2012 with 11 debilitating conditions. The petition process to add more qualifying conditions to the state’s list has been used several times since the program’s inception.
The state’s Regulation Review Committee approved 11 additional conditions in 2016, followed by eight more in 2018. If approved by the state general assembly committee, the new qualifying conditions will bring the total to 36 for adults and 10 for patients 18 and under.
Connecticut is also progressing toward legalizing recreational marijuana, a move that is backed by a majority of residents.
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