On Monday, the Health Department in Minnesota announced that come 2020, residents of the state suffering from chronic pain and age-related macular degeneration would be qualified to register for the medical marijuana program.
The Health Department also approved two delivery methods to give patients the option to choose from. The two systems include water-soluble cannabinoid multi-particles such as powders, granules, and sprinkles, and orally dissolvable products such as gums, mints, lozenges, buccal pills, and sublingual tablets.
Earlier this year, the lawmakers passed a law permitting the medical marijuana manufacturers for the program to double the number of marijuana treatment centers accessible by patients. The number of centers will be eight, making medical marijuana products more accessible to patients.
One of the medical marijuana manufacturers is Leafline Labs, and they suggested treatment centers to be set up at Willmar, Mankato, Golden Valley, and Rogers. Minnesota Medical Solution is the other manufacturing company, and it has proposed centers to be located at Woodbury, Blaine, Duluth, and Burnsville.
The Health Commissioner in Minnesota, Jan Malcolm, said that the increase in treatment centers and delivery methods would give patients more options, especially with the potential health impact of vaping.
In a statement, Malcolm further said that she is hopeful that with the new delivery methods, patients will have an alternative way of using medical marijuana, and the treatment centers will be easily accessible. The state’s program is a bit strict as it does not allow patients to access cannabis in leaf form or consume it through smoking. And before, patients could only access weed in the form of liquid gel, topical ointment, pills, and vape products.
Malcolm also said that the department added chronic pain to the list of qualifying conditions after reviewing the positive evidence where people have been using medical pot to treat intractable pain. She also noted that the age-related macular degeneration was added to the list after the agency found no other viable options for managing the symptoms.
The policy director for Sensible Change Minnesota, Maren Schroeder, said that doctors have been slow in certifying intractable pain since it carries a particular legal definition whereby it should be pain that cannot be cured but only managed, and other treatment options have failed to relieve the symptoms.
Patients identified to be suffering from chronic pain or age-related macular degeneration qualify to register with the medical marijuana program come July 1, 2020. They will be able to access medical marijuana treatment from manufacturers in the state on August 1.
The medical marijuana program in Minnesota started in 2014, when the state’s Department of Health approved only nine qualifying conditions.
In October 2019, approximately 18,000 patients were registered with the state’s medical marijuana program. The expansion of the program is seen by analysts as a move that will address some of the concerns of the entire industry, such as IONIC Brands Corp. (CSE: IONC) (OTC: IONKF) and Lexaria Bioscience Corp. (CSE: LXX) (OTCQX: LXRP), since the expanded program allows more patients to benefit.
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