As of February 12, 2010, Inflammatory Autoimmune-mediated Arthritis has been added to New Mexico’s Department of Health Medical Cannabis Program.
In December, 2009, the eight-member Medical Advisory Board held a public hearing in and recommended approving three of the five conditions considered: bipolar disorder, migraine headache and Ankylosing Spondylitis. Ankylosing Spondylitis is covered as part of the broader category of Inflammatory Autoimmune-mediated Arthritis. This umbrella term could include Rheumatoid Arthritis or inflammatory arthritis as a symptom of a number of autoimmune diseases.
Health Secretary, Dr Alfredo Vigil, said:
“I included this category as an eligible condition because it has been reported in medical literature that medical cannabis may help inflammatory conditions. However, I am limiting how this category can be approved since I’m concerned that the category could be misused due to the overly broad definition of inflammatory arthritis.”
To qualify for this condition, a patient must be diagnosed with Inflammatory Autoimmune-mediated Arthritis, the patient’s certification must come from a rheumatologist who is board-certified in rheumatology by the American Board of Internal Medicine, and the certification must attest that other standard treatments for arthritis have failed to bring the patient adequate relief.
Dr Vigil did not approve the Medical Advisory Board’s recommendations to add bipolar disorder or migraine headaches because there was not enough reliable scientific research to prove that cannabis would alleviate the symptoms. The Board based its recommendation on research that indicated medical cannabis could have a possible effect biochemically on the conditions.
Supporting his stance, Dr Vigil said:
“There is insufficient evidence in the medical literature that medical cannabis is clinically effective for these conditions. We recognize that there is a need for solid scientific research regarding the possible efficacy of cannabis in numerous possible conditions. But until that research has been performed, evaluated by the medical community, and established as having a reasonable likelihood of benefit, the Department will not approve conditions without such evidence.”
There are 16 current qualifying conditions for medical cannabis in New Mexico:
- Painful peripheral neuropathy
- Intractable nausea/vomiting
- Severe anorexia/cachexia
- Hepatitis C infection currently receiving antiviral treatment, Crohn’s disease
- Post-traumatic Stress Disorder
- Inflammatory Autoimmune-mediated Arthritis
- Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (Lou Gehrig’s disease)
- Multiple sclerosis
- Damage to the nervous tissue of the spinal cord with intractable spasticity
- Hospice patients