August 22, 2018, Arizona
Autism is a part of qualifying medical conditions lists of the majority of statewide medical marijuana programs. However, the recent court ruling suggests that Arizona is not going to have autism in the list anytime soon. Velva Moses-Thomson, Phoenix’s local administrative law judge, has ruled in the favor of the state’s department of health service that denied the petition for the inclusion of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) to the list of qualifying medical conditions covered by the state’s MMJ ordinance.
According to the verdict written by Judge Thomson, the petition fails to provide any evidence for the therapeutic benefits of the strain on the condition. The judge has made it clear in its ruling that the lack of any peer-reviewed research in the favor of MMJ use for ASD is the primary reason why she has upheld the decision of the health department.
The decision has left patients of autistic children in tatters. Many parents in the state have reported the benefits of MMJ products rich in CBD and low in THC in relieving the autistic conditions of their children. Now, they can only get MMJ products for their children by risking arrests and consequent prosecutions. If convicted, they can also lose the custody of their children. On the other hand, by stopping MMJ treatments, they have to see their children suffer from this debilitating health condition.
Brandy Williams, the director of Arizona chapter of a cannabis advocate group Mother Advocating Medical Marijuana for Autism (MAMMA) has told the media that parents have been prosecuted in the past to get MMJ for their autistic children. She was also one of the co-plaintiffs in the original petition against Arizona’s health department against its refusal to include autism in the qualifying list.
During the court proceedings, Williams testified along with her eight-year-old autistic children. She told the court how MMJ helped in improving the quality of life for her son. However, the court dismissed the testimony of Williams.
Judge Thomson hasn’t put down the anecdotal evidence provided by the parents of autistic children. However, she hasn’t moved by all the discussion. Even after several hearings and after listening to many heart-warming stories of autistic children getting back to life, the Judge still wants to see a peer-reviewed study on the effects of MMJ on autistic symptoms.
The concerns highlighted by the judge are also pretty compelling. For instance, no one would choose to greenlight the use of a substance for minors all across the state without gathering substantial scientific support in its favor. Who will be responsible if MMJ administration in any autistic children culminates into a more aggravated condition?
The evolution of scientific research on the therapeutic uses of MMJ is really slow, thanks to the federal laws that classify cannabis as a Class I controlled substance. It is very rare that a peer-reviewed study is carried out to study the therapeutic aspects of cannabis.
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