Earlier today, Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection Commissioner Michelle H. Seagull announced that she would follow the Board of Physicians’ recommendation and add three conditions to the state’s list of qualifying conditions for adult patients.
The new conditions include intractable migraines, hydrocephalus (water on the brain) with intractable headaches, and trigeminal neuralgia (chronic face pain). The Board declined to recommend adding anxiety disorders and Meniere’s disease (a cause of vertigo).
This welcome news comes just four months after fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis, shingles, and muscular dystrophy were added to the qualifying list. At that time, the panel rejected proposals to add severe COPD/emphysema, osteoarthritis, eczema, and atopic dermatitis, citing a lack of studies demonstrating that cannabis may be the best or only option left for treating these medical conditions.
What Happens Next?
The Department of Consumer Protection will now draft regulations that add the approved medical conditions to the list. The draft is expected to be finalized by the end of this month.
After a public hearing and comment period concludes, the regulation will then be forwarded to the attorney general’s office for review, after which it will then be sent to the Regulation Review Committee for final approval. The entire process is expected to take up to a year.
Currently, Connecticut has 22 qualifying medical conditions for adult medical cannabis use. These include cancer, glaucoma, HIV/AIDS, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, muscle spasticity, epilepsy, cachexia, PTSD, sickle cell anemia, post-laminectomy syndrome (chronic back pain), severe psoriasis, ALS, ulcerative colitis/Crohn’s disease, CRPS (chronic neuropathic pain), cerebral palsy, cystic fibrosis, spinal cord injury, intractable seizures, and terminal illness.
For patients who are under the age of 18 years old, qualifying medical conditions include intractable seizures, severe epilepsy, cystic fibrosis, cerebral palsy, terminal illness necessitating end-of-life care, and spinal cord injury with intractable spasticity.
A Growing Medical Cannabis Market
Connecticut’s medical cannabis program has been steadily on the rise ever since medical marijuana was legalized in the state back in 2012. There are currently more than 15,000 patients listed in the state’s medical cannabis registry and about 600 doctors approved to prescribe medical marijuana for their patients. The number of patients will continue to grow as the new recommended conditions are officially added to the list.
The continued growth and addition of new conditions are indicative of a medical marijuana program that is working effectively — with doctors, patients and government officials working together harmoniously. The cooperative relationship was on full display in the statement Seagull released.
“I want to thank the Board for the time they invest, and for their guidance,” she said. “I also want to thank those who testified for their bravery, and for telling their stories on Wednesday. We know our program is at its best when we hear from the medical community, and from patients whose lives can be improved by this medication.”