State Panel Considers Expanding Conditions Eligible for Medical Marijuana

October 10, 2017 06:51 PM

More than two years after medical marijuana was legalized in Minnesota, a state panel is now considering whether the program should be expanded.

Currently, 11 medical conditions qualify for treatment. But another 10 are being debated.


Those include autism, nausea, corticobasal degeneration, Parkinson's disease, peripheral neuropathy, liver disease, anxiety, obstructive sleep apnea, endocannabinoid deficiency and dementia.

RELATED: 2 Top Officials Leave Minnesota Medical Marijuana Provider

Do you want to see additional medical conditions such as autism and Parkinson's disease eligible for medical marijuana treatment in Minnesota?  Let the Commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Health, Dr. Edward Ehlinger, know your views!

Katie Kennedy's 14-year-old son Tyler deals with severe autism.

While he can't take medical marijuana for that condition, he can and does take it for Tourette syndrome, which he also suffers from and which is covered.

"I have not seen one bad side effect from marijuana," Kennedy said Tuesday afternoon before the review panel on adding new conditions met in St. Paul.

"I can't say the same for the other meds that we were on."

RELATED: Minnesota Medical Pot Provider Run $11M in Red

Kennedy said medical marijuana has been life-changing for Tyler.

"He went up to his Dad out of nowhere and wanted to kiss and hug (him)," she said. "(For) 11 years Dad's waited for him to want to give him a hug and a kiss."

Dozens of parents spoke in support of expanding the state's medical marijuana program Tuesday.

Some of them, like Kennedy and Victoria Grancarich, said they know medical marijuana works.

But only because their children suffer from another condition already covered.

"My goal here today is to try to help even one other kid to not have to go through what my son went through," Grancarich said.

No one spoke in opposition to medical marijuana at the meeting, according to both a health department official and parent who were in attendance.

The decision on expansion will ultimately be made by the state's commissioner of health - who has until December 1 to do it.

Medical marijuana: Who qualifies in Minnesota

To qualify for receiving medical marijuana currently in Minnesota, a patient must be a legal resident and have been diagnosed with one of the following conditions:

  • Cancer associated with severe/chronic pain, nausea or severe vomiting or cachexia or severe wasting.
  • Glaucoma.
  • Tourette Syndrome.
  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS).
  • Seizures, including those characteristic of Epilepsy.
  • Severe and persistent muscle spasms, including those characteristic of Multiple Sclerosis.
  • Inflammatory bowel disease, including Crohn's disease.
  • Terminal illness, with a probable life expectancy of less than one year  (To qualify for the program, you must suffer from cancer or a terminal illness with a probable life expectancy of under one year, if your illness or its treatment produces one or more of the following: severe or chronic pain; nausea or severe vomiting; or Cachexia or severe wasting)
  • Intractable pain
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

The following conditions have been discussed as possible additions:

  • Autism
  • Nausea
  • Corticobasal Degeneration
  • Parkinson's Disease
  • Peripheral Neuropathy
  • Liver Disease
  • Anxiety
  • Obstructive Sleep Apnea
  • Endocannabinoid Deficiency
  • Dementia

* Source: Minnesota Department of Health


Josh Rosenthal

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