The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) has extended its medical cannabis program to include eligible patients diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).
IBS is a disorder characterised by abdominal discomfort or pain and erratic bowel movements, and its impact can be anywhere from inconvenient to debilitating. OCD is characterized by the presence of repetitive, intrusive thoughts that can create significant emotional distress and anxiety, and result in compulsive behaviors aimed at alleviating that distress.
As of the beginning of this month, IBS and OCD have been officially incorporated into the list of qualifying medical conditions for cannabis-based treatment in Minnesota.
“As our understanding of medical cannabis continues to deepen, it is crucial to widen the scope of its use as a potential treatment to alleviate the distress associated with certain health conditions,” said Minnesota Commissioner of Health Dr. Brooke Cunningham.
This expanded access enables certified patients to start purchasing medical cannabis from authorized dispensaries starting August 1, 2023, and was initially flagged last year during MDH’s annual petition and public consultation process. The addition of IBS and OCD increases the list of qualifying conditions in Minnesota to 19 in total. A full list of qualifying conditions can be found here.
Whether it’s for managing IBS, OCD or any of the other qualifying medical conditions, patients must be certified in the Medical Cannabis Registry by a Minnesota-licensed physician, physician assistant, or advanced practice registered nurse before being able to access medicinal cannabis. Once the patient has received a certification email, they then need to enroll in the program. Once enrolment is approved, the patient can pick up medical cannabis at their nearest dispensary.
As at early July, there were 15 dispensaries in Minnesota, most of which are located in Minneapolis.
Up until March last year, only liquids, oils and pills, including whole-plant extracts and resin were permitted under the state’s program. Flower was added to the list of permissible products at the beginning of March 2022.
As at July 6, 2023, 39,292 patients with approved enrolment were currently active in the Registry. 2,383 health care practitioners were registered and authorized to certify patients
Further information on medical cannabis in Minnesota can be found here.