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Committee approves 8 additional conditions for treatment with medical marijuana

A legislative committee approved eight additional conditions — six just for adults and two for adults and children — that will soon be legal for treatment with medical marijuana under state law on Tuesday.

Adults seeking a medical marijuana card to purchase products at one of the state's nine medical marijuana dispensaries soon may apply to the program based on a diagnosis of the eight newly added conditions, mostly illnesses that cause chronic pain and headaches.

The additions to the list will be finalized when the secretary of the state's office amends the medical marijuana regulations later this week, said Lora Rae Anderson, a spokesperson for the state Department of Consumer Protection, which oversees the state's medical marijuana program.

People may now apply for a card if a doctor diagnoses them with neuropathic facial pain, muscle contractions or pain caused by fibromyalgia, neuropathic pain caused by shingles, chronic headaches, headaches caused by fluid buildup in the brain and severe rheumatoid arthritis.

The General Assembly's Regulations Review Committee also approved adding muscular dystrophy and the genetic disorder osteogenesis imperfecta to the list of conditions that qualifies both adults and children for medical marijuana use.

Once approved by the secretary of the state this week, the eight newly added conditions bring the total list of ailments that qualify people for a medical marijuana card to 30. The list represents a wide range of illnesses, from cancer to post-traumatic stress disorder, with symptoms that physicians agree can be helped by consuming medical cannabis products.

The Department of Consumer Protection's Board of Physicians meets regularly to consider proposals to add conditions to the list of diagnoses, which also includes cerebral palsy and cystic fibrosis, that can qualify applicants for a medical marijuana card.

The state commissioner of consumer protection reviews the Board of Physicians' recommendations before the legislature's Regulations Review Committee makes a final call on whether the conditions can be added to the medical marijuana program list.

Connecticut's medical marijuana regulations — passed in 2012 with 11 approved conditions: cancer, glaucoma, HIV or AIDS, Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, cachexia, wasting syndrome, Crohn's disease and post-traumatic stress disorder — have been updated through the regulatory process twice since then, adding six conditions. Another five were added to the list with a 2016 bill that legalized medical marijuana for children with certain conditions like cystic fibrosis.

In June, the board decided against a proposal to add opioid use disorders to that list.

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