What about the patients?
Stubborn legal questions vex patients’ search for medicine
Published: February 27, 2013
CPU is not one of the groups you will see officially at public demonstrations, although some of its members might be there. The group takes no official position on many of the issues being fought over, such as dispensaries and pending legislation, and generally doesn’t speak to the press.
Here is his description of the process the panel took in considering Parkinson’s disease and PTSD.
Some weeks before a meeting each panel member receives a binder with the petition for adding a condition along with supporting materials, generally a few hundred pages, such as studies and anecdotal evidence.
For the doctors on the panel the “scientific studies aren’t good enough because they’re usually not American,” Brogren says.
The panel meets after members have had time to review the materials and takes a preliminary vote on the condition, then it hears testimony from patients and others concerned with the condition. It seems weird to me that they vote before hearing any testimony, but the preliminary vote is not final. In the case of PTSD the panel voted 4-3 against adding it, with two members abstaining. However, after hearing testimony, one of the members who abstained wanted to reopen the vote.
“This nurse testified and her testimony was just haunting,” Brogren says. “She had seen so much trauma she couldn’t sleep any more. The marijuana helps her sleep.”
However, under Roberts Rules of Order, the vote could only be reopened if a member of the winning side requests it. The vote stands until a final vote is taken in late March. Even then it’s not binding. Ultimately the head of LARA decides whether to add the condition to the registry. In the meantime, the state panel has received petitions to consider adding asthma and autism to the MMMA registry. Those will be considered at upcoming meetings.
Most of the medical uses of cannabis are to alleviate symptoms associated with disease or side effects of the treatments for some illnesses. But as the NCI statement reports, there is growing evidence that the plant may be helpful in curing some cancers. In the next Higher Ground I’m going to discuss some of the science that has concluded that, and look at Simpson oil, the substance that some folks claim cures cancer, and talk to a couple of local patients who are using the oil.
Larry Gabriel is a writer, musician and former Metro Times editor. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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