Health Dept. to allow chronic pain, macular degeneration sufferers to receive medical marijuana

Medical marijuana products are displayed by the Cannabis Discussion Club at Trilogy at the Vineyards in Brentwood, some 55 miles east of San Francisco, California, on June, 21, 2018. - Seniors in the United States are increasingly turning to cannabis (JOSH EDELSON/AFP via Getty Images / Getty Images)

People suffering from chronic pain and age-related macular degeneration will be able to receive medical marijuana beginning in August 2020, the Minnesota Department of Health announced Monday.

In addition to adding the two conditions, MDH also announced that patients using medical marijuana will also be allowed to use new delivery methods including water-soluble cannabinoid multi-particulates and orally dissolvable products.

Currently, the only allowable forms of medical marijuana are liquid, pills, vaporizable liquid or oils, and topical applications.

MDH says adding the addition methods to ingest medical marijuana come after many have expressed concern about the dangers of e-cigarettes and vaping.

“We hope the addition of new delivery methods will provide a potential alternative to vaping for some patients and that the additional centers will provide more convenient access,” Minnesota Commissioner of Health Jan Malcolm said.

The state’s two medical marijuana manufacturers will also double the number if patient centers available. Leafline Labs has proposed new centers in Willmar, Mankato, Golden Valley, and Rogers while Minnesota Medical Solutions has proposed Woodbury, Blaine, Duluth, and Burnsville.

The additional treatment centers will be opened in accordance with legislation passed during this year’s legislative session. The will also provide greater access for patients across the state.

Chronic pain and age-related macular degeneration join the nine qualifying conditions the state Legislature approved in 2019.

“The bottom line is that people suffering from these serious conditions may be helped by participating in the program, and we felt it was important to give them the opportunity to seek that relief,” Commissioner Malcolm said.