Pubdate: Fri, 16 Jan 2015
Source: Register Citizen (CT)
Copyright: 2015 Register Citizen
Author: Ed Stannard


Tourette's disorder, which is actually a group of related syndromes, 
does not have a treatment that helps all patients, and medical 
marijuana would be a hopeful addition to the arsenal, according to a 
specialist at the Yale Child Study Center.

Tourette's was turned down unanimously by the Department of Consumer 
Protection's four-member Board of Physicians at this week's meeting, 
however, largely because of a lack of studies, according to Consumer 
Protection Commissioner Jonathan A. Harris.

Three new medical conditions may be added to the list of those 
treatable with medical marijuana: sickle cell disease, 
post-laminectomy syndrome with chronic radiculopathy (a specific type 
of back pain) and severe psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis.

Dr. James Leckman, who has treated Tourette's since the 1970s, said 
adolescent boys are most likely to develop the disorder but that 
adults at times cause themselves a great deal of pain to perform 
their particular tic. "Some of them have actually very severe 
syndromes that require very invasive procedures," he said. "We 
literally have to bore holes in the skull," and yet that does not 
help all patients.

"I really am worried ... for those very severe patients we need 
better treatments than what we have."

There have been studies done in Germany have shown that marijuana can 
reduce symptoms among Tourette's patients, Leckman said, although he 
said they are not definitive. He added that he's known patients who 
have moved to Rhode Island, where medical marijuana is available for seizures.

"I think it's unfortunate and I think medical marijuana definitely 
helps people with Tourette's syndrome and I hope that in the future 
that can be reconsidered," said Joanne Cohen of Simsbury, a patient 
of Leckman's who testified in November in favor of adding Tourette's 
to the list of 11 conditions covered by the medical marijuana program.

Patients with the approved conditions, which include glaucoma, 
epilepsy, cancer, HIV, Parkinson's disease and Crohn's disease, can 
receive a registration certificate from their doctor, which permits 
them to be prescribed marijuana.

There are six dispensaries in the state, including one in Branford.

During the physicians board meeting Wednesday, "They discussed in 
general whether it has a positive effect on alleviating pain" and the 
"safety and effectiveness between marijuana and use of opioids," Harris said.

"There also was discussion of whether the evidence of efficacy is 
just anecdotal or whether there are studies" on marijuana's ability 
to alleviate symptoms.

The petition for post-laminectomy syndrome was approved unanimously 
by the doctors on the board, Drs. Jonathan A. Kost, Deepak Cyril 
D'Souza, Godfrey D. Pearlson and Vincent R. Carlesi, Harris said.

D'Souza voted against the other conditions, citing lack of studies, 
resulting in 3-1 votes for sickle cell disease and psoriasis, he said.

Harris is an ex officio member of the board. He did not vote because 
it is now up to him to draft a regulation recommending any or all of 
the approved conditions. The drafts then will then go to a public 
hearing before being reviewed by the General Assembly's Regulation 
Review Committee.

Harris said he is not bound by the votes of the physicians board as 
to whether to submit a regulation, but "the recommendations of the 
physicians and the discussion carry a lot of weight in the 
decision-making process."
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom