Minnesota’s medical cannabis program adds new qualifying medical conditions

(Hawaii News Now)
Published: Nov. 30, 2022 at 4:49 PM CST
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MINNESOTA (Valley News Live) - People with two specific medical conditions will qualify for Minnesota’s medical cannabis program starting in 2023.

The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) will add irritable bowel syndrome and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) to the list of qualifying medical conditions. Under state law, the new qualifying conditions will take effect August 1, 2023.

“We are adding the new qualifying conditions to allow patients more therapy options for conditions that can be debilitating,” said Minnesota Commissioner of Health Jan Malcolm.

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a disorder characterized by abdominal pain or discomfort, and irregular bowel movements that can result in diarrhea, constipation, both diarrhea and constipation, or bloating. Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is characterized by recurring, intrusive thoughts that often cause significant emotional distress and anxiety. This can lead to behaviors that the affected person feels compelled to perform to reduce that distress. Research has shown that people who suffer from these conditions can see benefits from using medical cannabis to treat their symptoms.

As in past years, MDH conducted a formal petition process to solicit public input on potential qualifying medical conditions and delivery methods for medical cannabis. Minnesotans submitted petitions in June and July. Following that, the process moved into a public comment period and a review panel.

Petitions for gastroparesis and opioid use disorder were not approved. Gastroparesis, or delayed gastric emptying, was not approved as a qualifying medical because research indicates that cannabis can make the condition worse. As for opioid use disorder, MDH heard from medical and mental health providers who recommended against approving opioid use disorder due to lack of evidence for its effectiveness and the availability of FDA-approved medications for treatment.

Patients certified for new qualifying medical conditions will become eligible to enroll in the state’s medical cannabis program on July 1, 2023, and receive medical cannabis from either of the state’s two medical cannabis manufacturers starting Aug. 1, 2023. Patients need advance certification from a participating Minnesota health care provider. More information is available at How to Become a Medical Cannabis Patient.

When the Minnesota Legislature authorized the creation of the state’s medical cannabis program, the law included nine conditions that qualified a patient to receive medical cannabis. With the new additions, the list of qualifying conditions will be 19. Under state rules, the commissioner of health each year considers whether to add qualifying conditions and delivery methods.

For a list of qualifying medical conditions, go to Medical Cannabis Qualifying Medical Conditions.