Minnesota’s Medical Cannabis Program Adds Edibles for Patients

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Photo Courtesy of Denise Mattox via Flickr.
Photo Courtesy of Denise Mattox via Flickr.

The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) announced that it would approve infused edibles in the form of gummies and chews. This will allow medical cannabis users to have a new medical delivery method in Minnesota’s medical cannabis program.

More Options for Patients

The new delivery method will become effective on Aug. 1, 2022. A rulemaking process that will outline requirements for labeling, safety messaging, packaging, and testing will launch this month. Current permitted delivery forms include pills, vapor oil, liquids, topicals, powdered mixtures, and orally dissolvable products, like tablets.

“Expanding delivery methods to gummies and chews will mean more options for patients who cannot tolerate currently available forms of medical cannabis,” said Minnesota Commissioner of Health Jan Malcolm.

In March 2022, registered medical cannabis patients will also be eligible for dried raw, smokable cannabis. The Minnesota Legislature approved this in 2021. Rulemaking for dried raw cannabis is also currently in process.

Only for Those with Approved Medical Conditions

Marijuana Dispensary
Marijuana Dispensary

As in past years, MDH conducted a formal petition and comment process to solicit public input on potential qualifying medical conditions and delivery methods for medicine. Since 2016, petitioners have requested anxiety disorder or panic disorder as a qualifying medical condition.

Each year it was denied due to lack of clinical evidence and the desire to avoid any unintended consequences. This year, at Commissioner Malcolm’s request, the MDH Office of Medical Cannabis conducted an in-depth review. This included a research review of anxiety disorder as a qualifying medical condition. Ultimately the addition was not approved due to a lack of scientific evidence, plus concerns from health care practitioners.

“We received many comments from health care practitioners treating patients with anxiety disorder, and they urged us to not approve it as a qualifying medical condition,” said Commissioner Malcolm. “We recognize that not everyone has equal access to therapy – which is considered the front-line treatment – but ultimately we concluded that the risk of additional harms to patients outweighed perceived benefits.”

When the Minnesota Legislature authorized creating the state’s medical cannabis program, the law included nine conditions that qualified a patient to receive medical cannabis. Since then, the list of conditions has grown to 17. According to state rules, the commissioner of health each year considers whether to add conditions and delivery methods.

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