Report: Medical marijuana aiding most Minnesota patients

Wyatt Hauser's medical marijuana.
The two kinds of medical marijuana tinctures a young patient takes sit with his lunch of bananas, ham and applesauce.
Evan Frost | MPR News 2016

Most Minnesotans who took part in the launch year of the state's medical marijuana program reported "substantial benefits" from treatment, including minimal side effects and no serious consequences, the state Health Department said Tuesday.

Asked to rate the benefits of medical cannabis in their treatment on a scale of 1 (no benefit) to 7 (great deal of benefit), 64 percent of patients gave the therapy a 6 or 7. "Across all patients, In the area of symptom reduction, patients achieved at least a 30 percent reduction in symptoms (an amount considered clinically meaningful) for conditions including seizures, Tourette syndrome, Crohn's disease and muscle spasms," the agency said in a statement.

A "small but important" proportion of patients, 9 percent, indicated little or no benefit with a rating of 1, 2 or 3, the department said, adding that patients also reported that affordability continues to be a problem as medical cannabis is not covered by health insurance.

The study drew on data from survey results as well as enrollment, purchasing and related health information to describe the experience of patients using medical cannabis from the program's start on July 1, 2015, through June 30, 2016, the department added.

A complete study is scheduled to be released this summer.

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