Health

Cannabidiol treatment may expand in Iowa

Medical board considers adding type of autism

Empty display bottles of medical marijuana at MedPharm Iowa Dispensary Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2018, at the dispensary in Windsor Heights, Iowa.
Empty display bottles of medical marijuana at MedPharm Iowa Dispensary Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2018, at the dispensary in Windsor Heights, Iowa.

Medical cannabidiol may soon become available as a treatment for a certain type of autism in Iowa.

The Iowa Board of Medicine on Feb. 8 will discuss adding “severe, intractable pediatric autism with self-injurious or aggressive behaviors” to the conditions the oil, commonly referred to as CBD, can be used to treat.

In a public hearing Tuesday, the board reviewed two comments in favor of that addition from a physician and physician’s assistant.

“The Cannabidiol Board, which is part of the Department of Public Health, approved adding that condition. The Board of Medicine agreed with that and filed notice of these rules to add that condition for the use of medical cannabidiol for the state of Iowa,” said Kent Nebel, the board’s interim executive director and director of legal affairs.

Last month, the Board of Medicine added ulcerative colitis to the list of conditions for which the oil can be used.

Members of the public or advocacy groups may petition the Cannabidiol Board to add conditions to the list, Nebel said. If approved, the Board of Medicine reviews the condition, acting as a backup to the Cannabidiol Board, Nebel said.

The Cannabidiol Board received a petition to add Autism Spectrum Disorder in August 2018. It was approved unanimously in November 2018 but was modified because of the disorder’s wide range of symptoms, skills and level of disability.

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“Concerns expressed by some board members about potential negative effects the use of medical cannabidiol may have on the young developing brain are not applicable to children with severe, intractable autism that includes self-injurious or aggressive behaviors due to the severity of the autism symptoms and level of disability,” according to minutes from the November meeting.

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