Minnesota Adds Autism and Obstructive Sleep Apnea as Qualifying Medical Cannabis Conditions

Minnesota Commissioner of Health Dr. Ed Ehlinger announced today that the state will be adding autism spectrum disorders and obstructive sleep apnea as new qualifying conditions for the state’s medical cannabis program.

“Any policy decisions about cannabis are difficult due to the relative lack of published scientific evidence,” said Commissioner Ehlinger. “However, there is increasing evidence for potential benefits of medical cannabis for those with severe autism and obstructive sleep apnea.”

This year, as in years past, the Minnesota Department of Health used a formal petitioning process to solicit public input on potential qualifying conditions. Throughout June and July, Minnesotans were invited to submit petitions to add qualifying conditions. The process included public comments, a citizens’ review panel and a set of research summaries for each condition prepared by Minnesota Department of Health staff. Petitioners put forward a total of 10 conditions for consideration this year, including anxiety disorders, autism, cortico-basal degeneration, dementia, endogenous cannabinoid deficiency syndrome, liver disease, nausea, obstructive sleep apnea, Parkinson’s disease and peripheral neuropathy. There were also petitions to add cannabis delivery methods including infused edibles and vaporizing or smoking cannabis flowers. Unfortunately these requests were not approved.

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Minnesota Adding PTSD as Qualifying Medical Cannabis Condition

Minnesota’s Health Department has announced that they plan to allow those with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) to use medical cannabis.

minnesotaThe move comes just a few months after the department changed the rules to allow those with chronic pain to become medical cannabis patients.

Minnesota’s medical cannabis program was established in 2014; it allows those with a physician recommendation to possess and use cannabis products such as tinctures and oils, but prohibits the smoking or possession of whole plant cannabis. The program is limited to certain debilitating conditions such as cancer and epilepsy. The addition of chronic pain greatly expanded the number of people who qualify for the program, and adding PTSD will expand this even further.

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Patients with Chronic Pain can Now Purchase Medical Cannabis in Minnesota

minnesotayeahAs of today in Minnesota, those with chronic pain who have a recommendation from a physician are authorized to purchase medical cannabis and cannabis products from one of the state’s eight dispensaries.

“I could just cry I’m so excited,” said Bjerke Severson, one of the first chronic pain patients to visit a dispensary in the state (she went to Bloomington clinic). “I don’t enjoy this life I have right now.”

In total, there are eight “Cannabis Patient Centers” throughout the state, located in the towns of Bloomington, Eagan, Hibbing, Minneapolis, Moorhead, Rochester, St. Cloud and St. Paul.

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Intractable Pain Now a Qualifying Medical Cannabis Condition in Minnesota

Cannabis pills being sold at a dispensary in Minnesota. (Photo: BizJournals.com)
Cannabis pills being sold at a dispensary in Minnesota. (Photo: BizJournals.com)

As of July 1st in Minnesota, those with intractable pain are authorized to become registered medical cannabis patients, allowing them to purchase, possess and use cannabis and cannabis products.

“July 1 marks the start of intractable pain registration and the anniversary of the availability of medical cannabis in Minnesota,” says Health Commissioner Dr. Ed Ehlinger. “During this first year, Minnesota has succeeded at setting up a medically focused program that provides consistent and quality-controlled cannabis products to patients. According to our early surveys, about 90 percent of Minnesota patients reported some level of benefit.”

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Minnesota Adds Intractable Pain As Qualifying Medical Cannabis Condition

painIntractable pain has been added to Minnesota’s list of conditions that qualify an individual to become a valid medical cannabis patient, according to an announcement made by Department of Health Commissioner Dr. Ed Ehlinger. The new change officially goes into effect on July 1st.

“The relative scarcity of firm evidence made this a difficult decision,” said Ehlinger, who despite approving the change clearly doesn’t understand that numerous scientific studies have found cannabis to be beneficial for pain treatnment. “However, given the strong medical focus of Minnesota’s medical cannabis program and the compelling testimony of hundreds of Minnesotans, it became clear that the right and compassionate choice was to add intractable pain to the program’s list of qualifying conditions. This gives new options for clinicians and new hope for suffering patients.”

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Medical Cannabis Now Legal in Minnesota

minnesotaA law legalizing medical cannabis has officially taken effect in Minnesota, allowing patients with certain debilitating conditions to possess, purchase and use the medicine. Moments after the law took effect at midnight, July 1st, the Minnesota Medical Solutions clinic in downtown Minneapolis opened its doors.

The new law allows those with a qualifying medical condition who receive a recommendation from a physician to possess cannabis medicines, and purchase it from a state-licensed dispensary. Qualifying conditions include cancer, HIV/AIDS, glaucoma and seizure disorders. Smoking cannabis isn’t allowed, though patients are authorized to consume the medicine through other methods such as oils and pills.

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Minnesota Governor Signs Legislation Allowing Hospitals to Administer Medical Cannabis

minnesotayeahMinnesota Governor Mark Dayton has signed into law legislation allowing hospitals to distribute medical cannabis to those who are qualified patients registered with the state.

The new law provides legal protections to healthcare facilities and their employees who possess and administer medical cannabis while carrying out their employment duties. This would explicitly allow healthcare professionals to administer medical cannabis to those who may benefit from it, given they are part of the state’s medical cannabis registry, which officially opens on June 1st.

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