Michigan adds cerebral palsy to list of ailments qualifying for medical marijuana

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The use of medical marijuana will be extended to people afflicted with cerebral palsy, according to the state Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs.

The condition joins more than two dozen ailments the state has certified as qualifying for a medical marijuana card, ranging from cancer to glaucoma, AIDS and chronic pain.

Cerebral palsy is a neurological disorder that is caused by an injury that occurs during a child’s brain development. Symptoms of the condition include loss of motor function and control, and cannabis has been cited as helping with pain relief and reduction of seizures and spastic movements. Approximately 764,000 people in the United States have cerebral palsy, according to the United Cerebral Palsy Foundation. Of those people, about 500,000 are under the age of 18.

While cerebral palsy is in for medical marijuana, the licensing department denied Chronic Aggressive Behavior as a qualifying condition.

Michigan voters approved legalizing marijuana for medical use in 2008. Since then, the Medical Marijuana Review Panel has taken testimony on dozens of conditions that would qualify a person for a medical marijuana card. Currently in Michigan, there are more than 294,000 cardholders.

A medical marijuana cardholder can be any age and many young people with conditions such as epilepsy or other seizure disorders have been using marijuana to control their seizures. The Food and Drug Administration even approved a cannabis-based medication last year — Epidolex — to help control a severe form of epilepsy.

In November, voters approved a ballot proposal legalizing marijuana for adult recreational use, but only for people who are at least 21. Medical marijuana will still be available for consumers of any age, but anyone who is under 18 must have approval from two doctors and parent or guardian.

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