Minnesota Adds New Qualifying Conditions to Medical Cannabis Program

The Minnesota Department of Health announced Wednesday that it will add irritable bowel syndrome and obsessive-compulsive disorder to its list of medical conditions eligible for participation in the state’s medical cannabis program. Under state law, the new eligibility additions will take effect from August 1, 2023, according to state officials.

Jan Malcolm, Minnesota Health Commissioner said in a statement from the public health center.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a disorder characterized by abdominal pain and discomfort and irregular bowel movements that can cause diarrhea, constipation, both diarrhea and constipation, or bloating. Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is characterized by recurrent intrusive thoughts that often cause severe emotional distress and anxiety in people with the disorder. This can lead to repetitive behaviors and other behaviors that people affected by the condition feel compelled to perform to alleviate their distress.

“Studies show that people suffering from these conditions can benefit from using medical cannabis to treat their symptoms,” the Department of Health wrote.

According to media reports, the new eligibility criteria provide a modest expansion to state medical cannabis programs, with an estimated 10% of adults having IBS and 1% meeting diagnostic criteria for obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Minnesota Patients support adding new conditions

In a public comment on a petition to add IBS and obsessive-compulsive disorder to Minnesota’s medical marijuana program, a man identified by the initials RH described himself as a professional with a wife and two daughters. .

“My daily life consists of constant fear and stress,” RH said, noting he has OCD. “The only time I’m virtually symptom-free is when I’m asleep.”

Under state regulations, patients who qualify for newly approved medical conditions will be eligible to enroll in state medical cannabis programs on July 1, 2023. Patients will be able to receive medical cannabis from either of her two medical cannabis manufacturers in the state starting in August. January 1, 2023. Patients wishing to use medical marijuana to treat any of the state’s qualifying conditions require prior certification from a participating Minnesota health care provider.

Opioid Use Disorder Not Approved

The Department of Health is petitioning to add opioid use disorder and gastroparesis, a condition that affects the normal locomotor activity of the stomach muscles, to the list of Minnesota states for which patients are eligible to use medical marijuana. The petition not to add gastroparesis was not approved as an eligible medical condition because research has shown that cannabis can make the condition worse.

Chris Torx, director of the Minnesota Department of Health’s Office of Medical Cannabis, said the decision not to add opioid use disorders was a difficult one, and access to existing treatment options, such as methadone clinics, in some areas. pointed out that is limited. Elements that supported approval of the petition.

“We struggled with this” Torx said of star tribunehealth care providers were “concerned that the introduction of another class of drug could lead to relapse. And in the case of opioid use, relapse can be fatal.”

The decision not to recognize Opioid Use Disorder comes because Minnesota and the country are mired in an epidemic of deaths from opioid overdose. Many public comments have revealed success in substituting marijuana for opioids.

“After nine years of using painkillers under prescription for pain, I know that cannabis use helps alleviate its withdrawal symptoms,” he publicly identified with the initials TB. A commenter said. “I only use cannabis now.”

When Minnesota legislators passed the law creating the state’s medical cannabis program in 2014, the law included nine conditions that qualified patients to receive medical cannabis. , the list of eligibility conditions is 19. Current eligibility criteria include chronic pain, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), cancer in certain circumstances, glaucoma, and other serious medical conditions.

From 29,000 in 2021, more than 39,000 Minnesotans are enrolled in the state’s medical marijuana program. Nearly all of the enrolled participants were eligible for intractable or chronic pain, and approximately one-third had her PTSD. Muscle spasms, cancer, and sleep apnea are also common conditions.

New conditions considered every year

Each year, the Department of Health conducts a formal petition process to solicit public comment on potential eligible medical conditions and delivery methods, followed by a public comment period and review panel.

Under state rules, the health secretary must annually consider new petitions to add eligible medical conditions and methods of cannabis delivery. No new delivery method petitions were filed this year.

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