Minnesota Pain Patients Eligible for Marijuana Products
Patients diagnosed with intractable pain symptoms can now participate in the Minnesota medical cannabis program, following legal changes that took effect this week.
As passed in 2014, the law prohibited chronic pain patients from accessing medical cannabis products. The program permits no more than two state-licensed medical manufacturers of cannabis and eight dispensaries, which are only permitted to provide oils, pills, and/or extracts.
State health officials announced their intent to expand the program to include chronic pain patients late last year. The law defines “intractable pain” as a health condition “in which the cause of the pain cannot be removed or otherwise treated with the consent of the patient and in which, in the generally accepted course of medical practice, no relief or cure of the cause of the pain is possible, or none has been found after reasonable efforts.” Pain patients must also possess a recommendation from their physician in order to obtain cannabis therapy.
Fewer than 1,000 Minnesotans are presently registered in the program.
As many as one in five Americans live with chronic pain, a condition that’s often poorly managed by conventional analgesic therapies like opiates or NSAIDS. Clinical assessments consistently report that inhaled cannabis can mitigate hard-to-treat pain conditions, such as neuropathy, and also reduces patients’ intake of opioids.
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