Most medical cannabis patients in Minnesota report benefits

- About 90 percent of Minnesota’s medical cannabis patients reported “mild to significant” benefits during the first three months of the program, according to a Minnesota Department of Health survey. Only about 20 percent of patients reported side effects – the most serious being an increase in seizures in four patients.

The MDH survey asked medical cannabis patients to rate their level of benefit from 1 to 7, using the following scale:

No benefit – 1
Little perceived benefit – 2
Mild or moderate perceived benefit - 3 to 5
Significant benefit - 6 or 7

For most patients, the biggest problem with their care has been the cost, with 73 percent reporting the cost to be unaffordable.

The top three conditions for medical cannabis use were severe muscle spasms, seizures and cancer. Of these three conditions, cancer had the highest patient-reported benefit scores on the survey.

The MDH survey was sent to 435 patients who made their first medical cannabis purchases during the first three months of the program, a period from July 1 to September 30, 2015. Of the 435 patients, 241 completed the survey. MDH also sent a survey to the 345 health care practitioners who certified patients as eligible for medical cannabis. Of these, 94 health care practitioners completed surveys for 169. Reports of patient benefits by certifying health care practitioners were generally more modest than patients' own reports, with about 77 percent reporting a “mild to significant benefit” for their patients.

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