ST. PAUL — Minnesota Commissioner of Health Dr. Ed Ehlinger announced Wednesday that intractable pain, as defined in Minnesota law, will be added to the list of qualifying conditions for which patients can legally access medical marijuana.
The commissioner must notify the chairs and ranking minority members of the legislative health and public safety policy committees. Intractable pain will become a qualifying condition for medical marijuana effectiveAugust 1, 2016, unless the legislature passes a law stating otherwise.
The vast majority of the 23 states with workable medical marijuana programs allow the use of medical marijuana to treat intractable pain.
Statement from Robert Capecchi of the Marijuana Policy Project:
“This is a sensible and compassionate decision that will help a lot of Minnesotans who suffer every day from intractable pain. The commissioner heard from countless medical professionals, patients, and families from across the state about the benefits of medical marijuana for people suffering from this debilitating condition. We commend Commissioner Ehlinger and everyone else involved in taking this important step toward improving the lives of countless Minnesotans.
“Medical marijuana has been found to be an effective treatment option for people suffering from severe and chronic pain. It is oftentimes more effective than prescription painkillers, and it is undeniably far less addictive and less toxic. Recent research shows that states that allow medical marijuana for severe and chronic pain have lower rates of fatal prescription drug overdoses. The decision to add intractable pain as a qualifying condition in Minnesota will improve not only the health of individual patients, but also the community as a whole.”