The State of Michigan adds autism and 10 other debilitating medical conditions on the list of diseases qualified for medical marijuana treatment.

Shelly Edgerton, Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs director, said that the update is in conjunction with the conditions set forth in the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act of 2008.

"With the changes in state law to include marihuana-infused products, and the advancement of marihuana research, and upon the recommendation of the panel members, I've added these eleven conditions to the approved list," Edgerton said. "I'd like to thank the members of the review panel for their hard work in discussing these petitions and making their recommendations."

Aside from autism, patients diagnosed with arthritis, chronic pain, colitis, inflammatory bowel disease, obsessive-compulsive disorder, Parkinson's, rheumatoid arthritis, spinal cord injury, Tourette's Syndrome, and ulcerative colitis are allowed to take cannabis for medical purposes.

Edgerton, through the recommendation of the majority of the members of the Medical Marijuana Review Panel, denied the qualification of the following diseases: anxiety, asthma, brain injury, depression, diabetes, gastric ulcer, non-severe and non-chronic pain, organ transplant, panic attacks, schizophrenia, and social anxiety disorder.

How Does Cannabis Help Treat Autism?

Individuals with autism spectrum disorders experience a range of neuro-developmental challenges, including delayed language and impaired social interaction. They may also exhibit a combination of physiological difficulties such as seizures, gastrointestinal problems, and sleep disorders among others.

With the use of medical marijuana, some patients have shown improvements in their anxiety levels, aggression and self-injury, cognition, speech and language, and sleep.

Jessica Finch, a board member of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, said the law benefits the families of autistic patients as therapies and medications are expensive.

"This is a great day for patients. It gives them the opportunity to use medical marijuana as they and their physicians see fit," Finch said.

Procedures And Restrictions

Diagnosis of the qualifying disease is one of the primary requirements, but there are other restrictions an applicant has to follow. LARA shall issue registry identification cards to qualified patients upon submission of requirements. These include proof of Michigan residency, name, address, and phone number of the patient's qualifying physician, valid Michigan's voter's registration, and a written certification.

Patients below 18 years old can be given a registry identification card to use medical marijuana under certain conditions. His or her physician shall identify the risks of medical marijuana on the patient's condition. The parents or legal guardian should also provide written consent.

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