Minnesota's medical cannabis program adds qualifying conditions: IBS and OCD

Medical marijuana greenhouse
Marijuana plants grow in a greenhouse at Minnesota Medical Solutions in Otsego in 2015.
Jennifer Simonson | MPR News file

Minnesota health officials are expanding the list of conditions that qualify for the state’s medical cannabis program.

The Minnesota Department of Health announced Wednesday that starting next August, people with irritable bowel syndrome and obsessive-compulsive disorder can receive medical cannabis — with certification from a health-care provider.

“We are adding the new qualifying conditions to allow patients more therapy options for conditions that can be debilitating,” Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm said in a news release.

In its announcement Wednesday, the health department said “research has shown that people who suffer from these conditions can see benefits from using medical cannabis to treat their symptoms.”

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Certified patients with those conditions can start enrolling in the medical cannabis program on July 1, 2023 and start receiving medical cannabis on Aug. 1.

The additions announced Wednesday come after petitions to add the conditions went through a public comment period and passed a review panel. They’ll bring the list of approved qualifying conditions to 19 — up from nine when Minnesota's medical cannabis program started in 2015.

The Health Department rejected two other petitions this year to add gastroparesis, or delayed gastric emptying, and opioid use disorder to the list.

State health officials said research has shown that cannabis can make gastroparesis worse. They also said they “heard from medical and mental health providers who recommended against approving opioid use disorder as a qualifying medical condition due to lack of evidence for its effectiveness and the availability of FDA-approved medications for treatment.”