Pain patients are now eligible for Minnesota’s medical marijuana after a new decision announced on Wednesday by Dr Ed Ehlinger, the state’s Commissioner of Health.
Patients with intractable pain will be allowed to buy marijuana products starting August 1, 2016. They can begin registering one month earlier, at the beginning of July.
Ehlinger said it wasn’t an easy decision, since an advisory panel of health care providers recommended against. He claimed that it wasn’t a decision driven by economic or scientific reasons but by compassion for those suffering great pain without any other chance of feeling better.
Health care providers and clinicians argue that the greatest issue regarding intractable pain is that there is no scientific evidence that marijuana helps. More than that, they fear that this new regulation could be abused by people faking their pain in order to get the drugs.
Intractable pain is a condition for which nobody had been able to find a cure or relief until now. However, people from other states using marijuana for intractable pain said that it actually helps, bringing them some relief from the constant pain.
Medical marijuana is legal in 24 states and 18 of those already legalized the use of medical marijuana for intractable pain.
Marijuana cannot be sold in Minnesota as it is (in natural state) and it’s illegal to be used for recreational purposes. It can only be sold as oils, vapors and pills. The medical marijuana program of the state has been highly restricted until now, accepting only nine medical conditions since its beginning, on July1. That brought a low enrollment and high costs for the enrolled patients.
The two Minnesota manufacturers are now expecting 10 times more clients than before, based on figures from the other states. Their executives said this could finally allow them to reduce the prices for the medicine they’re selling.
The Health Department is going to evaluate some other medical conditions in the near future, for the possibility of including them in the program. Marijuana products are now allowed for conditions like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) Alzheimer’s, HIV/AIDS, MS, Chron’s Disease, Glaucoma, Cancer and other seizure or spasms-inducing conditions.
Governor Mark Dayton and some other lawmakers have already issued statements in support of Ehlinger’s decision. The lawmakers could vote against the decision in spring but in order for it to be reversed, it should pass through both the House and the Senate.
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