Minnesota Advisory Panel Recommends Adding Intractable Pain As Qualifying Condition For Medical Marijuana

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The Minnesota Office of Medical Cannabis Intractable Pain Advisory Committee posted its recommendations on the question of whether intractable pain should be a medical cannabis qualifying condition late Wednesday. A majority of the panel opposed adding intractable pain, despite marijuana's relative safety when compared to commonly prescribed pain medications. The panel also listed a variety of conditions that it suggests be met if the Commissioner of Health were to ultimately decide to add intractable pain to the program.

Minnesota Marijuana Policy Update

The recommendations --- which include a 21 and older age restriction and a requirement that "traditional" methods of treatment be exhausted --- will now be considered by Minnesota Commissioner of Health Ed Ehlinger. If he decides to add intractable pain, with or without added criteria, he must notify the chairs and ranking minority members of the legislative health and public safety policy committees. Intractable pain would become a qualifying condition for medical marijuana, effective August 1, 2016, unless the legislature passes a law stating otherwise.

There are currently 18 other states that allow medical cannabis to be used to treat intractable, chronic, or debilitating pain. Multiple studies conducted in the University of California system showing the efficacy of medical cannabis at treating pain can be found at http://bit.ly/1frBiOI.

"It is unfortunate that a majority of the panel opposed recommending intractable pain, especially in light of the research done by the University of California system demonstrating marijuana's efficacy at treating severe pain," said Robert Capecchi, deputy director of state policies for the Marijuana Policy Project. "Medical cannabis is a much safer alternative to prescription painkillers, and recent studies show those states that allow individuals to treat severe pain with medical marijuana experience lower rates of fatal prescription painkiller overdoses than states that don't. I hope the commissioner listens to the science, overwhelming public support, and the experiences of the vast majority of medical marijuana states and ultimately decides to add intractable pain to the list of qualifying conditions."

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The Marijuana Policy Project, the nation's largest marijuana policy organization, has been responsible for changing most state-level marijuana laws since 2000. For more information, visit http://www.MarijuanaPolicy.org.

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