Connecticut Adds More Ailments to Medical Marijuana List

The medical marijuana program in Connecticut will expand to cover several additional conditions, including psoriatic arthritis.

The list of medical conditions allowed to participate in Connecticut’s medical marijuana program will be increased from 11 to 14, according to ctpost.com.

Jonathan A. Harris, the Consumer Protection Commissioner in Connecticut, said Monday that he was following the recommendation of the organization’s Board of Physicians to draft new medical marijuana program regulations. There are 11 conditions currently included in the program, and these new regulations would see 3 more added: sickle cell disease, post-surgical back pain with chronic radiculopathy, and severe psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis.

"In light of the board members’ careful review and deliberation of the evidence involving the potential for marijuana to alleviate the pain, symptoms and complications of these debilitating conditions, as well as the benefit of avoiding the negative effects associated with opioids, I have concluded that these medical conditions should be added to the list of debilitating medical conditions under the Act,” Harris said.

A panel of 4 doctors, who acted on their own research and information gathered from a public hearing, concluded on January 14 of this year that medical marijuana can alleviate the pain of these conditions and offer a safer alternative than prescription narcotics. Those drugs, the doctors warned, are often abused, can cause fatal consequences, and lead to other problems like heroin addiction.

The panel of doctors heard arguments for including Tourette’s syndrome in the list of ailments permissible for medical marijuana use, but decided against it. They cited the lack of clinical findings linking medical marijuana to reducing vocal outbursts and facial tics that are commonly associated with Tourette’s syndrome.

The current list of ailments for which medical marijuana is allowed to be prescribed includes cancer, glaucoma, HIV/ AIDS, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, spinal injuries, epilepsy, cachexia, Crohn’s disease, and post traumatic stress disorder. There are about 170 state physicians who participate in the program, which allows them to certify patients and caregivers. Then, those patients are given identification cards which are presented to pharmacists who can recommend strains of marijuana.

New ailments can be added to the list after public hearings which are scheduled twice per year. At those meetings, anyone petitioning for inclusion must demonstrate the limits of current treatments, the degree of which those ailments cause pain, spasticity, or nausea, and supporting medical evidence including testimony from doctors and licensed medical health care providers. There are 4 licensed marijuana growers in Connecticut and currently about 2,600 Connecticut residents are eligible to purchase 2.5 ounces of marijuana per month from one of the 6 dispensaries.