COLUMBUS, Ohio – The State Medical Board of Ohio is going to take another stab at considering whether medical marijuana should be allowed for anxiety and autism spectrum disorder, after delaying a decision on the conditions last month.

This time, however, the medical board is going to contract with more experts – including people who are likely against marijuana use for the conditions.

Specifically, the board is going to contract with experts at Columbus-based Nationwide Children’s Hospital.

Last month, about a week before the medical board was scheduled to vote on whether to OK the conditions, physicians from the hospital wrote to the medical board, arguing that there was “little rigorous evidence that marijuana or its derivatives is (sic) of benefit to patients with autism and anxiety, but there is a substantial association between cannabis use and the onset or worsening of several psychiatric disorders.”

Also testifying at an Aug. 14 meeting, where four medical board members will start a second review of the conditions, will be the director and medical director of the Ohio Department Mental Health and Addiction Services. The director is a member of Gov. Mike DeWine’s cabinet.

DeWine, who has previously said he’s never smoked cannabis, opposes recreational marijuana and decriminalization and is concerned about young people’s frequent use of the drug.

His position on medical marijuana? “Medical marijuana was passed prior to this year,” said Dan Tierney, a spokesman for the Republican, who took office at the beginning of the year. “The administration will implement the laws passed by the Ohio General Assembly on this issue.”

As attorney general, DeWine said he supported a limited medical marijuana program.

It is the second time this year that the medical board will study marijuana’s efficacy for people with autism and anxiety.

On June 12, the medical board voted against marijuana for depression, insomnia and opioid use disorder. It delayed making a decision on anxiety and autism, even though a four-member committee of medical board members on May 8 voted to recommend that the full, 12-member board approve the two conditions.

Part of the reason the four-member committee got behind anxiety and autism is because the experts it had contracted with were unanimous that marijuana could be helpful for patients with the two conditions, but were not unanimous on marijuana’s efficacy for depression, insomnia and opioid use disorder.

But on June 12, the medical board had a different view – including board acting president Dr. Michael Schottenstein and others who were on the study committee. They cited the Nationwide Children’s Hospital letter, new members of the medical board who needed to catch up on the issue and a belief that once the medical board adds a condition for medical marijuana, it cannot remove it if new medical research shows it’s ineffective or harmful.

The board will again pay the experts to testify, except for the Ohio Department Mental Health and Addiction Services employees, who already get paid to work for the state, board spokeswoman Tessie Pollock said.

The exact amount of money each doctor or research scientist will get is not yet known.

Thomas Rosenberger, associate director of the Ohio Medical Marijuana Cannabis Cultivators Association, petitioned the board late last year to add autism spectrum disorder and anxiety to the current list of 21 qualifying conditions.

Experts pored through research, and the two conditions wouldn’t have gotten this far in the process if there wasn’t a significant amount of evidence demonstrating marijuana’s efficacy, he said.

“It is somewhat disheartening that Nationwide and any other organization interfere in that process,” he said.