Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Chronic Kidney Failure Approved in Washington

By Ron Crumpton

Washington State – chronic kidney failure has been added to the list of conditions that marijuana is considered a valid medical treatment under state law.

It was the opinion of the state’s Medical Quality Assurance Commission that patients suffering from nausea and loss of appetite caused by dialysis would benefit from medical marijuana. However, they also warned that it could jeopardize a renal-failure patient’s eligibility for transplant.

Although, this was a victory for those who suffer from chronic kidney failure, it was key a defeat for those in Washington who are suffering from neuropathic pain and Alzheimer’s disease. The Medical Quality Assurance Commission failed to approve these conditions.

The commission concluded that the term neuropathic pain was too broad. According to the commission, many of the conditions that would fall under this term are already covered and some that would be covered should not be. It was their conclusion that the petition, brought by the Cannabis Defense Coalition, needed to be better defined.

In the case of Alzheimer’s disease, they ruled that there was insufficient scientific or anecdotal evidence that it could prevent the disease in humans.

It makes you wonder what constitutes enough and anecdotal. With Complutense University and the Cajal Institute in Madrid, Ohio State University and Scripps Research Institute having all issued studies that state otherwise, it makes you ask, how much evidence do you want?

The commission should be applauded for approving chronic kidney failure. Most reasonable people can even understand that they might want a tighter definition – after all they are not looking at the fact that it should be legal for everyone, they can only look at the medical question and the law.

However, Alzheimer’s is a terminal disease, and any evidence that it could help a dying patient should be enough evidence to leave the decision to the patient, his family and his doctor.

It is the stories where they give you a prize and then slap you in the face that makes you realize how far we have come, but also make you realize just how far we still have to go.

1 comment:

  1. A lady I know whose grandmother suffered from Alzheimer's disease had chronic UTI's and every time they would put her on the antibiotics to cure the UTI her memory was significantly better. She would remember everything each day and knew who her family actually was. I thought that was pretty odd. Fantastic, but odd.