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Medical Cannabis Benefiting Minnesota Cancer Patients

A report from Minnesota Department of Health researchers indicates the state’s medicinal cannabis program is having a positive impact on cancer patients.

Patients participating in the program record the severity of symptoms – anxiety, poor appetite, depression, poor sleep, fatigue, nausea, pain, and vomiting – in the 24 hour period prior to a medical cannabis purchase.

A recently published study found a significant reduction in scores for all symptoms when comparing baseline scores with the average score submitted within the first 4 months of program participation; particularly in relation to fatigue and vomiting.

Close to half of patients who experienced vomiting at the time of being accepted into the program reported vomiting severity reduced by more than 30 percent over the four months after their first cannabis purchase.

“Medical cannabis was well tolerated, and some patients attained clinically meaningful and lasting levels of improvement,” states the study, which has been published in the Journal of Oncology Practice.

“It is encouraging to see this evidence that Minnesota’s medical cannabis program is helping cancer patients,” said Minnesota Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm, who also stated the program is making valuable contributions toward advancing scientific understanding of the treatment potential of cannabis.

The analysis included data provided by 1,120 cancer patients enrolled in the program between the beginning of July in 2015 and the end of December 2017.

It’s not just cancer patients in the state who are benefiting from the use of medicinal cannabis. Last year we mentioned a report indicating forty-two percent of patients with intractable pain experiencing moderate to high pain levels reported a pain reduction of thirty percent or more.

Currently, thirteen conditions are eligible for the state’s program. Patients with autism or obstructive sleep apnea became able to register in August last year.

The newest addition that will be added to the qualifying condition list is Alzheimer’s disease, which was initially flagged in December last year. However, Alzheimer’s patients won’t become eligible to enroll in the program until July 1, 2019, or receive medical cannabis until August 1. 

Medical cannabis is available at eight locations across the state currently, which are supplied by two approved manufacturers.

More details on Minnesota’s medical cannabis program can be found here.

Gillian Jalimnson
Gillian Jalimnson is one of Hemp Gazette's staff writers and has been with us since we kicked off in 2015. Gillian sees massive potential for cannabis in areas of health, energy, building and personal care products and is intrigued by the potential for cannabidiol (CBD) as an alternative to conventional treatments. You can contact Gillian here.

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