Michigan to Decide on Medical Marijuana and Autism

Michigan to Decide on Medical Marijuana and Autism

Will Michigan be the first state to add autism as a qualifying condition for medical marijuana?

“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.”
~ David Crocker, a medical marijuana doctor and member of the panel,
As reported by Michigan Live

On July 31st, 2015, the Michigan Medical Marijuana Law Review Panel met and voted to recommend adding autism as a qualifying condition for medical marijuana.

Many of the parents who attended the review panel on July 31st were parents looking for a way to help their child. There is not much that can stand in the way of a mother or father who is seeking to make the life of their child better.

According to Michigan Live, the recommendation now heads to the director of the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs, Mike Zimmer. He will have the final decision in adding autism to the law.

The Detroit News reports that he will have until October to decide. When that decision is made it, will be posted on the Licensing and Regulatory Affairs website.

Michigan Live reported, it was a 4-2 vote in favor of a petition that was submitted by Lisa Smith. Smith is a Michigan mother who says that cannabis oil helped improve her severely autistic 6-year-old son’s behavior, sleep patterns, and eating schedule. Smith’s son also has epilepsy, which is a medical conditional treated under law by medical marijuana.

Supporters for Adding Autism as a Qualifying Condition

According to the Detroit News, supporters are saying that the cannabis oil, which is oil extracted from marijuana can be swallowed. When swallowed it has effectively helped control a severely autistic child’s extreme physical behavior.

Michigan Live reported a mother of a 23-year-old son with autism who would have benefited from medical marijuana as a child. She said, “I have hope now.” She then told the story of how when her son was younger he bit her and knocked out her front teeth. “I can say, when they voted yes, it was just such a relief.”

The Detroit News reported that the panel was influenced by some Detroit area doctors, including the head of pediatric neurology at the Children’s Hospital of Michigan.

Critics Against the Use of Medical Marijuana and Autism

Michigan Live reported that the two members who voted against the petition are concerned about the effects marijuana might have on the developing brain.

Dr. Eden Well, the Chief Medical Executive of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and a member of the panel voted no. She was not convinced there is enough research, especially on the long term effects marijuana was on children. The Detroit New quoted her saying,

“These things are things we do not know until we have enough experience with these medications in a controlled trial. … I don’t think we have those checks and balances.”

Other organizations that oppose further legislation of medical marijuana, according to the Detroit News are The American Academy of Pediatrics and a nonprofit group called SAM (Safe Alternatives to Marijuana).

The Detroit News reported that critics say that there is strong evidence that marijuana harms the developing brain.

“Regular cannabis use by adolescents has been linked to persistent declines in intelligence and increased risk of addiction, anxiety disorders, major depression and psychotic thinking, according to the study.”

What Do You Think?

Should autism be added as a qualifying condition for medical marijuana in Michigan?