Minnesota’s Department of Health has added post-traumatic stress disorder to the state’s medical cannabis qualifying list, the Associated Press reports. However, individuals suffering from the condition won’t be able to access the program until August.
The agency also expanded the medical cannabis delivery options, allowing the sales of topical patches, creams and lotions. Smoking or using the full plant is still outlawed.
The Health Department considered adding other conditions to the eligible list, including depression, arthritis, and autism spectrum disorder. But Health Commissioner Ed Ehlinger said there wasn’t enough evidence showing cannabis as an effective therapy for those conditions — which were submitted to the department via public petition.
“PTSD was the only one that really came close to meeting my threshold,” he said in the report. “There’s widespread agreement among medical experts on the need for improving existing PTSD treatments.”
Assistant Health Commissioner Gilbert Acevedo is worried, though, that veterans who use cannabis for PTSD treatment could run into trouble with Veterans Affairs’ or their military benefits. Veterans Affairs’ doctors are not permitted to recommend medical cannabis.
“That’s where the conflict may come in,” he said. “If you work for the VA, you have to follow federal guidelines.”
Ehlinger said that in addition to opening up the program for veterans, the addition of PTSD might also help sexual assault victims, and witnesses of violence.
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