Ohio Experts Withdraw Recommendation to Approve Cannabis for Autism, Anxiety

A committee of experts advising regulators in Ohio has withdrawn its recommendation to approve adding autism and anxiety as qualifying conditions for the state’s medical marijuana program. The action by the Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program’s expert review panel on Wednesday follows a recommendation to approve the two conditions for inclusion in the program the committee issued in May.

After hearing additional testimony from four physicians and reviewing several letters opposed to the plan on Wednesday, the committee voted to reverse the earlier decision.

Dr. Michael Schottenstein, the president of the Ohio State Medical Board, is a psychiatrist practicing in the Columbus area. He is also a member of the review committee and opposed adding autism and anxiety to the state’s list of qualifying conditions.

“Approval feels premature at this time,” Schottenstein said after the committee voted to reverse course. “For the medical board, there should be consensus to do so among respected medical authorities.”

Committee member Robert Giacalone was also opposed to approving the recommendation.

“There is, at best, anecdotal evidence on the other side,” he said.

“The comfort’s just not there,” Giacalone added. “I’m hearing solid science on one side and, at best, anecdotal science on the other.”

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