Add anxiety as a qualifying condition to Minnesota's medical cannabis program

Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm

Each year, the Minnesota Department of Health considers petitions for the addition of new qualifying conditions in Minnesota's medical cannabis program. Patients with conditions such as PTSD, autism, and chronic pain have found themselves qualified for the program as a result of these efforts.

Since 2016, anxiety has been petitioned as a qualifying condition. In 2020, acting in response to a petition from Sensible Minnesota, Sensible Change Minnesota, and Vireo Health, the Office of Medical Cannabis created a workgroup to evaluate the addition. The Director of the Office of Medical Cannabis has submitted a 2021 petition to add certain anxiety-related diagnoses: generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety/social phobia, panic disorder, specific phobias, separation anxiety disorder, and agoraphobia. This petition requests that certifications are limited to patients age 25 and older.

The data Minnesota has collected from patients with PTSD indicates that medical cannabis can reduce anxiety, provide an alternative to dangerous benzodiazepines, and provide a "bridge" to therapy solutions.

Please sign and share your thoughts on the addition of anxiety as a qualifying condition, including whether or not you believe it should be limited to patients age 25 and older.

To: Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm
From: [Your Name]

After a thorough review of anxiety as a qualifying condition by the Office of Medical Cannabis, it is clear that patients suffering from various anxiety disorders would receive benefit from medical cannabis.

Medical cannabis is safer than other medications, can provide a "bridge to therapy," and effectively relieves anxiety symptoms for many patients with anxiety.

Promoting safe and legal access to medical cannabis for patients is important. Cannabis obtained from the illicit market can be inconsistently dosed, have contamination issues, and puts patients in legal jeopardy. As such, we, the undersigned, respectfully request that anxiety be added as a qualifying condition for medical cannabis in Minnesota.