Starting from July 1, patients suffering from Alzheimer’s can start enrolling for medical marijuana in Minnesota. Once these patients are registered, they will be permitted to buy medical marijuana from the two licensed manufacturers in the state.
The Department of Health first announced in December last year that Alzheimer’s would be added to the list of qualifying conditions for medical marijuana.
While a review panel had recommended that seven conditions be added to the list, only Alzheimer’s was approved by Jan Malcom, the Health Commissioner. The others which had been proposed include traumatic brain injury and opioid use disorder.
The addition of Alzheimer’s now brings the number of medical marijuana qualifying conditions to 14. This number has been growing every year since the medical marijuana program started five years ago with just 9 qualifying conditions.
Currently, statistics put the number of patients on the state’s medical marijuana program at 15.687 by March 31. The inclusion of Alzheimer’s among the qualifying conditions has the potential to increase the number of registered patients significantly since the Alzheimer’s Association estimates that there are at least 94,000 people who are living with Alzheimer’s in the state. Even if just one tenth of this number signs up for medical marijuana, the patient numbers on the program will swell by a huge percentage.
It isn’t just the Alzheimer’s patients who will benefit when medical marijuana is available. Approximately 254,000 family members and friends are involved in taking care of these patients. When marijuana brings improvements in the behavioral effects of Alzheimer’s, it get easier for caregivers to look after their loved ones.
The Department of Health in Minnesota will use the month of July to process the applications of Alzheimer’s patients and these people will start accessing medical marijuana on August 1. The details of what patients require in order to be certified on the program have been availed on the department’s website.
While no scientific studies have provided any conclusive proof that marijuana can cure, prevent or slow the progress of Alzheimer’s, some recent studies suggest that this could be possible. A small study recently showed that marijuana inhibits the formation of the protein plaque which has been associated with the onset of dementia, one of the leading symptoms of Alzheimer’s.
Minnesota now joins the ranks of states and territories which have included Alzheimer’s among the conditions for which patients may use medical cannabis. Marijuana industry advocates speculate that while the industry players like Earth Science Tech Inc. (OTCQB: ETST) and Choom Holdings Inc. (CSE: CHOO) (OTCQB: CHOOF) may have been disappointed that only one condition was added, they could be pleased that thousands of patients and their families will benefit from medical marijuana.
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