MDH to allow medical marijuana treatment for 2 new conditions

More Minnesotans will soon be able to qualify for the state’s medical marijuana program thanks to two new additions to the program’s qualifying medical conditions list.

Wednesday, the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) announced that it will add irritable bowel syndrome and obsessive-compulsive disorder to the list of conditions covered by the medical cannabis program.

Those conditions will officially be added on Aug. 1, 2023, per state law, but patients certified with those conditions will be able to start enrolling in the program on July 1.

“We are adding the new qualifying conditions to allow patients more therapy options for conditions that can be debilitating,” MDH Commissioner Jan Malcolm said in a statement.

MDH says irritable bowel syndrome can create abdominal pain, irregular bowel movements or bloating. Obsessive-compulsive disorder is characterized by recurring, intrusive thoughts that often can cause significant emotional distress and anxiety.

A total of 17 other conditions are currently covered by the program. Click here to see the full list. Patients with any of those conditions are able to receive medical marijuana.

The two new additions come after a formal petition process to solicit public input. While no petitions for new delivery methods were submitted this year, the department opted to approve the two previously mentioned conditions over some other disorders that were petitioned.

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Those denied included gastroparesis and opioid use disorder. MDH says gastroparesis research shows cannabis can make the condition worse, and medical and mental health providers recommended against approving opioid use disorder because of that lack of evidence that cannabis helps.

Records show nearly 40,000 people participate in the medical marijuana program, which was signed into law in 2014 and officially started the following year with nine qualified conditions. The commissioner of health weighs new additions and updated delivery methods each year.