Ohio Could Become the 1st State to Treat Depression, Insomnia With Medical Marijuana

The State Medical Board of Ohio is currently debating whether the Buckeye State should become the first to allow medical marijuana treatments for depression and insomnia.

It may seem strange that no US state currently lists insomnia as a qualifying condition for treatment by medical marijuana. It's no secret that cannabis is widely used as a sleep aid, and as many as 14 percent of Americans use it to help them get a good night's sleep.

However, insomnia may soon be treatable with medical marijuana in at least one state. Ohio's medical marijuana regulators are set to make their final decision on what should be added to the list of medical conditions qualifying for treatment with medical marijuana next month. And some of the conditions up for consideration are insomnia and depression.

Like insomnia, there currently aren't any states where depression qualifies for treatment with medical marijuana. That might seem odd, since cannabis is known to make people laugh and smile, but whether or not cannabis can help people dealing with depression is trickier to tackle than insomnia.

Some research that suggests cannabis may be an effective anti-depressant, but conflicting studies link cannabis consumption in adolescents to mental health issues later on in life. The anecdotal evidence goes both ways too, as some people find cannabis very uplifting and others say it causes paranoia.

Still, the number one thing people say they treat with cannabis is poor mental health, so in the absence of hard science, many consumers are clearly relying on anecdotal evidence.

If depression or insomnia get cleared for treatment with medical marijuana it wouldn't be the first time Ohio became the first state to treat a particular condition with cannabis. As of right now, Ohio is also the only state which allows chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) - a traumatic brain injury often seen in veterans and football players - patients to access medical cannabis. 

Regulators will make a final vote on whether or not the proposed conditions make it onto the list on June 12.

h/t Cincinnati Enquirer

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California may have been the first in the country to pioneer cannabis law reform, but the Golden State is still struggling to eliminate the black market and sell affordable, legal pot. In 1996, California voters passed Prop 215 to legalize medical marijuana. In the years immediately following its passage, medical cannabis was a small and largely unregulated affair.

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