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Medical Cannabis Board Will Not Recommend New Treatments

MedPharm's Aliviar branded medical cannabis products were on display at the MedPharm manufacturing facility in Des Moines
Katarina Sostaric
/
IPR file
MedPharm's Aliviar branded medical cannabis products were on display at the MedPharm manufacturing facility in Des Moines Wednesday, October 17, 2018.

The state board that oversees Iowa’s medical cannabis industry has declined adding any new conditions to the list of approved uses in Iowa. The Medical Cannabidiol Board denied petitions to approve illnesses such as anxiety and schizophrenia at its meeting Friday. A decision whether to approve post-traumatic stress disorder was delayed until November.

Although commenters shared personal stories telling how cannabis products have been helpful treating their PTSD, several board members said there is not enough scientific data to approve long-term use.

“Part of our job here is, first, do no harm,” said board member Stephen Richards. “That’s what we’re trying not to do. Not to stop people from getting care but making sure they don’t get harmful care."

The state legislature attempted to expand the use of medical marijuana this year by passing a bill that would have allowed dispensaries to sell more potent products, but it was vetoed by Gov. Kim Reynolds.

Medical cannabis advocates said at the meeting that restrictions to Iowa’s program could lead patients to take greater risks to achieve the relief they believe marijuana can provide.

“Either they are compelled to break Iowa law by obtaining cannabis from Colorado or Illinois or self-medicate in lieu of real medical options like we have here in Iowa,” said State Sen. Claire Celsi, D-Des Moines.

Sales of medical marijuana in Iowa started in December 2018. To date, 3,223 patients have been certified to use medical cannabis products. It is most commonly used to treat pain, but marijuana is also approved to treat conditions including cancer, seizures, Multiple Sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease.