Minnesota Approves Edibles for the Medical Cannabis Program

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The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) regulators announced Wednesday that cannabis edibles will be available in the state from next year, offering medical cannabis patients a new alternative for accessing their drug of choice. However, the agency declined to add anxiety disorders as a qualifying condition for the state’s medical cannabis program.

According to a plan announced by Minnesota Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm, cannabis edibles in the form of gums and chews will be an approved delivery method for the state’s medical cannabis program starting August 1, 2022.

“The expansion of delivery methods to include chewing gum and chews will mean more options for patients who cannot tolerate the currently available forms of medicinal cannabis,” Malcolm said in an agency press release on Wednesday.

When it was launched in 2015, Minnesota’s medical marijuana program was one of the strictest in the country, with restrictions on qualifying medical conditions and types of cannabis products approved. Since its inception, more qualifying conditions and approved product types have been added, with the currently approved dosage forms including pills, steam oil, liquids, topicals, powder mixes, and orally dissolvable products such as lozenges. Cannabis flowers should be available to patients next year.

The Ministry of Health noted that a rulemaking process to regulate the packaging, labeling, safety notice and testing of medical cannabis edibles will begin next month.

Regulators approve edibles but refuse to add fear as a qualifying condition

The state health ministry also announced on Wednesday that regulators had refused to add anxiety as a qualifying condition under the state’s medical cannabis program. The MDH notes that petitioners have asked every year since 2016 to add anxiety or panic disorder as a qualifying condition, saying they again oppose the proposal “due to a lack of scientific evidence of its effectiveness as well as concerns raised by health care providers “. Practitioner.”

“We have received a lot of comments from health care professionals treating patients with anxiety disorders and they urged us not to have it as a qualifying condition,” said Malcolm. “We recognize that not everyone has equal access to therapy – which is considered first-line treatment – but ultimately we concluded that the risk of additional harm to patients outweighed the perceived benefit.”

Minnesota Medical Cannabis Program started with nine approved qualifying conditions, a list that has grown to 17 over the past six years. Qualifying conditions include glaucoma; HIV / AIDS; Tourette syndrome; amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS); inflammatory bowel disease, including Crohn’s disease; Seizures, including those characteristic of epilepsy; severe and persistent muscle spasms, including those characteristic of multiple sclerosis (MS); persistent pain; Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Autism Spectrum Disorder; obstructive sleep apnea; Alzheimer’s disease; chronic pain; Sickle cell anemia; and chronic motor or vocal tic disorder.

People with cancer or an incurable disease with an expected life expectancy of less than a year may also be eligible if their disease or treatment causes one or more symptoms, including severe or chronic pain; Nausea or excessive vomiting; or severe wasting (cachexia).

Cannabis flower should be available next year

Cannabis flowers will also be made available to medical cannabis patients in Minnesota starting next year. According to an Omnibus Health and Human Services Act passed by legislature and signed by Governor Tim Walz in May, dried cannabis flowers must be made available to patients by March 1, 2022.

The change came at the urging of cannabis advocates, who argued that the currently approved processed forms of medical cannabis are more expensive for patients. Opponents claimed that allowing smokable forms of cannabis would legalize recreational marijuana, but state Senator Michelle Benson said that was not the intent of the bill.

“It’s not our goal to make this a legalization path,” Benson said earlier this year. “It is a goal to make this available to people with medical needs who cannot afford it. So we hope that we have found the right balance. “