Washington State Considering Expanding Medical Marijuana Use


Photo: Coaster420
Washington state health officials are considering expanding the categories for which medical marijuana may be used.

​Washington State health officials are on the verge of deciding whether patients suffering from depression or certain anxiety disorders should be allowed to use medical marijuana as part of their treatment, Molly Rosbach at The Seattle Times reports.

Washington’s medical marijuana law, adopted by voter initiative in 1998, limits the legal use of medical marijuana to patients who have been diagnosed with a “terminal or debilitating medical condition.”
That includes patients with cancer, HIV, multiple sclerosis, hepatitis C and several other diseases causing pain or nausea  “unrelieved by standard medical treatments and conditions.”

On July 20 a petition was submitted to the Medical Quality Assurance Commission, which is responsible for deciding which conditions qualify for medical marijuana use, asking that they add bipolar disorder, severe depression and anxiety-related disorders to the list.
A public hearing will be held Wednesday night, Dec. 2, in Seatac to consider the petition. The hearing will be at 7 p.m. at the SeaTac Radisson Hotel, 17001 Pacific Highway S., SeaTac, WA.

Courtesy canorml.org
Dr. Greg Carter: “It’s much safer than opiate medications like Oxycontin because you cannot overdose on cannabis.”

​Dr. Greg Carter, professor of rehabilitation medicine at the University of Washington and the first researcher to document the effectiveness of cannabinoids in treating ALS, said marijuana is regarded as safe by many doctors when used responsibly.
“It’s much safer than opiate medications like Oxycontin because you cannot overdose on cannabis,” he said.
Carter noted that he doesn’t personally treat psychological conditions, but that there is medical evidence that marijuana can be useful in treating bipolar disorder and anxiety.
Dr. Carter, along with NORML’s Dr. Dale Gieringer and Ed Rosenthal, wrote the recently updated Marijuana Medical Handbook.
The commission and the board are expected to issue a written order with their decision in a few weeks, the Times reports.