Star Tribune: PTSD is added to Minnesota’s medical pot program

Post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, is being added to the list of conditions covered by Minnesota’s medical cannabis program, effective next August.

The expansion, announced Thursday by Health Commissioner Dr. Ed Ehlinger, adds an option for the estimated 8 percent of Minnesotans who, at some point in their lives, will suffer PTSD, a condition that can cause people to relive the emotion of traumatic experiences through panic attacks, nightmares and severe anxiety.

Minnesotans also petitioned to add arthritis, depression and six other conditions, but Ehlinger said the research to date didn’t support the others as strongly.

“PTSD presented the strongest case for potential benefits and a relative lack of good treatment alternatives,” said Ehlinger, who has discretion under state law to enlarge program coverage.

The medical cannabis program already covers seizure disorders, glaucoma, HIV/AIDS, Tourette’s syndrome and intractable pain — which was added earlier this year and resulted in a surge of patients.

Roughly 3,500 Minnesotans with qualifying conditions are certified to receive medical cannabis, which for now is provided only in oil or pill form in the state. Ehlinger also said Thursday that the state will permit the use of medical cannabis in a topical form, such as patches or creams, starting next year.

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