Connecticut Panel of Doctors Vote to Add MMJ Qualifying Conditions

After implementing major changes to their medical marijuana program last year, the state of Connecticut healthcare system is evolving for the better once again.

On Friday, the panel of Connecticut doctors tasked with deciding which medical conditions qualify a patient for a medical marijuana recommendation voted to modify two entries. The panel included “intractable headache syndrome” and “neuropathic facial pain” on the list of seven proposed conditions that, if approved by the legislature, would qualify a diagnosed patient to enroll in the state’s medical marijuana program.

The commissioner of the Department of Consumer Protection, who oversees the panel of doctors, approved the new suggested qualifying conditions.

Intractable headache syndrome and neuropathic facial pain are broad terms that refer to a number of different painful head conditions that cannot be “controlled by any medicine or procedure.” The new qualifying conditions would replace the existing entries, migraines and trigeminal neuralgia. The panel used this terminology in hopes of opening the program up to patients who may be suffering from a condition that causes them tremendous pain but wasn’t diagnosed specifically as one of the already-approved conditions in Connecticut.

The proposed amendments to Connecticut’s medical marijuana program are the first to be recommended directly by the panel rather than a petition from voters.

Taylor Dudek, a 19-year-old who suffers from a brain defect near her spine that causes debilitating chronic pain testified before the panel ahead of Friday’s vote to voice her displeasure with her therapeutic options.

Disappointed in the constant push of opioid painkillers by her physicians, the Bay Path University medical student Dudek explained to the panel, “Because of the stigma that surrounds marijuana, I as a person suffering from debilitating conditions am unable to benefit from medically prescribed marijuana because my conditions are not yet listed on the approved list of conditions.”

The proposed list of additional qualifying condition now awaits evaluation by the regulation review committee at the next legislative session.

Photo courtesy of Allie Beckett



 

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