The Minnesota Department of Health announced Monday that they have approved adding Alzheimer’s disease as a qualifying condition for medical marijuana, but rejected petitions to add opioid use disorder, hepatitis C, traumatic brain injury, and insomnia to the program.
Alzheimer’s disease is a neurodegenerative disorder that mainly affects elderly people. It is the most common cause of dementia. Other symptoms include cognitive impairment, delusion, depression and agitation.
“Any policy decisions about cannabis are difficult due to the relative lack of published scientific evidence,” said Minnesota Commissioner of Health Jan Malcolm. “However, there is some evidence for potential benefits of medical cannabis to improve the mood, sleep and behavior of patients suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.”
Under current state law, patients with Alzheimer’s disease will become eligible to enroll in the medical marijuana program on July 1, 2019, and receive medical cannabis from the state’s licences dispensaries starting on August 1, 2019.
In addition to Alzheimer’s disease, other qualifying conditions for medical marijuana in Minnesota include:
- Cancer associated with severe/chronic pain, nausea or severe vomiting, or cachexia or severe wasting
- Tourette Syndrome
- Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)
- Seizures, including those characteristic of Epilepsy
- Severe and persistent muscle spasms, including those characteristic of Multiple Sclerosis.
- Inflammatory bowel disease, including Crohn’s disease
- Terminal illness, with a probable life expectancy of less than one year
- Intractable pain
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
- Obstructive Sleep Apnea
More information on Minnesota’s medical marijuana program is available from the Minnesota Department of Health.