Because today's best medical practices are not always those of tomorrow, the Wolf administration has established procedures to modify the existing list of 21 illnesses or conditions for which physicians and their patients could turn to forms of marijuana medical.
The new trial, released Friday by the State Department of Health, would address these requests to the State Medical Marijuana Advisory Council for the first review.
Members of the public or physicians who make a request – the forms are now posted on the Health website – would be required to provide documentation to support the use of medical marijuana as a treatment for the proposed condition, as well as to support the discovery that benefits of new therapies would outweigh potential health risks.
Applications will be reviewed by a sub-committee of the advisory committee and submitted to the board of directors, which meets quarterly, for a positive or negative vote on a recommendation. The approved applications would then go to the state health secretary, who would certify any changes to the list.
State health secretary, Dr Rachel Levine, said that establishing such a process to change the list of approved conditions makes sense.
"While the medical literature surrounding the uses of medical marijuana expands, we want to ensure that our list of suitable conditions meets the needs of Pennsylvania citizens," said Levine in a statement that outlined the new procedures.
"This process will allow those who have serious medical conditions to make sure that their conditions are part of the list of suitable conditions, with the support of medical professionals and documentation that supports their application".
The new process is a consequence of a two-year revision of the program by the statute, on which the secretary has the right to issue regulations governing the program.
One of these changes, which allowed the sale and use of dry leaves of marijuana as part of the medical program, was carried out this summer.
Levine has already expanded the list of original conditions after receiving the two-year review, to add conditions such as substitution treatments for addiction, or to specify that the application for medical marijuana cancer extended to patients happens to be in remission as well.
The drafting of the process for an ongoing review of the accepted conditions was also contained in the April report of the board of directors.
To date, the Department of Health claims that over 64,000 patients across the state are actively participating in the medical marijuana program launched in February, working through 945 physicians who have been approved as professionals.
The current list of conditions approved for medical marijuana in Pennsylvania includes: chronic pain, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, autism, cancer, Crohn's disease, nerve damage to the central nervous system, spastic movement disorders, epilepsy, glaucoma, HIV / AIDS, Huntington disease, inflammatory bowel disease, intractable seizures, multiple sclerosis, neurodegenerative diseases, neuropathies, opioid use disorder, Parkinson's disease, post-traumatic stress disorder, sickle cell anemia and terminal illness.