Anxiety disorder a candidate for medical cannabis use – Tower Timberjay News

David Colburn

REGIONAL- Medical cannabis use in Minnesota could increase significantly next year if a petition to approve its use by people with diagnosed anxiety disorders is approved by state Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm.
Petitions to add anxiety disorder as a qualifying medical condition for medical cannabis have been submitted and denied every year since 2016, but after an in-depth review of the issue by the Office of Medical Cannabis, Malcolm asked that a petition be resubmitted for 2021.
Past petitions have failed largely because of a dearth of research specifically related to the effects of medical cannabis and its derivatives on anxiety disorder. Such was the reasoning of Malcolm in 2020 when she denied the petition, with a desire to avoid unintended consequences.
Of the 36 states with medical cannabis programs, only four – Nevada, New Jersey, North Dakota, and Pennsylvania – have added anxiety disorder to their approved use lists.
The largest change in the mix of medical cannabis users after approving anxiety disorder occurred in New Jersey, where 58 percent of approved conditions in 2020 were for anxiety disorder.
In North Dakota, anxiety disorder quickly became the number one condition among patients enrolled in the medical cannabis program after being approved in 2019. Forty percent of program patients had anxiety disorder as a primary diagnosis.
Possible benefits
While the research base is still small, the petition suggests multiple possible benefits for anxiety disorder patients from using medicinal cannabis.
The primary class of drugs used to treat anxiety disorder, benzodiazepines, can be addictive and lead to overdoses and fatalities, issues that could be avoided if a patient used medical cannabis instead.
Drawing evidence from those with post-traumatic stress disorder who are part of the Minnesota program already, this group has demonstrated decreased anxiety symptom relief from medicinal cannabis.
It may also be a viable legal alternative for

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